Tuesday, April 26, 2011


So much rain we've had! It wasn't too terrible today, so Siaga had the run of the paddock today. I can't wait for the sunshine to become a bit more stable and for the mud to clear up. I'm rearing to ride.

I bought a thin navajo rug, hopefully it will solve the saddle slipping problem. Hopefully.

After that particular problem is dealt with, I have one more itsy bitsy problem... With the sun will come farmers, plowing and planting their fields. They're already way behind schedule, I don't know that the corn will be "Knee high by the Fourth of July" this year, as it usually is.

So... when the farmers start working the fields, I won't have a field to ride in anymore. This year, for the field across the road, is the year for corn, so riding the perimeter of the field will be out of the question. So basically, I'll be riding in my woods (maybe a five minute ride, all in all,) riding the neighbors woods (maybe... 20 minutes?) perfecting technique and equitation in the front yard, or riding the roads. Reflective jacket time? Perhaps. Or a big orange triangle slapped on his butt. lol.

Houston Woods, a nearby state park, which is nearly in our backyard, is really close, and has 18 miles of horse trails, AND an outdoor arena. However, it would be a long ride, and I've got to slowly work Siaga up to being able to manage such long distances.

My friend Jacy also has a horse, and will be home from school this summer. She's two or three miles away and Siaga will be able to manage that soon enough. Riding with Jacy, however, is conditional on whether or not her horse, Taz, has good feet by summer. I looked his feet over a while back, and while I'm not certain, and no farrier or vet to make a diagnosis, it seems to me that he's got a case of white line disease. I told her dad that Taz needs to be in dry, secure ground, his feet need to be bandaged and cleaned every day, and that he needs at least 30 minutes of road-walking every day to increase the circulation in his hooves. I don't know if he'll listen. Hopefully he'll get a real farrier out to look at him. I'm a little tired of his "I think I know it all" attitude about horses. Granted, I kinda act that way sometimes, too, but I know when I really can't trust myself with something and when to turn to someone else for help. Someone like... an expert.

ANYWAYS. If Taz is up to it, I'll be looking forward to riding with Jacy, and also to switching mounts here and there and letting someone else have a go at the Psycho Pony, and getting someone else's opinion on how he's doing. Or rather, how we're doing, since it's kind of a team effort, here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So the saddle...

Obviously we have an issue with that sucker. So I'm going to try a few things before I give up the ghost and start saving for a new one to fit better.

First, I'm going to try putting a leather latigo from one of my older saddles on this one. The leather won't stretch like the nylon one will. Hopefully this will solve my saddle slipping problems.

If it doesn't, and it still slips around too much, I'm going to buy a Navajo saddle blanket from TSC and see if a thinner pad that is less slippery on the bottom and not as fluffy will allow the saddle to sit closer and hold better.

If the problem persists STILL... I'm going to try my other saddles on him, because I think they are all different sizes. I'll take measurements to see whats what and then put them up and see what happens.

Also, I'm hoping that one of the first two options will solve my situation, because I really like my red and black saddle. Also, I was wanting to sell the other two western saddles for money to put toward a nice, lovely, Wintec All Purpose 250 English saddle and then start collecting things for it such as a gullet change system, leathers, irons, and a girth. And maybe a new bridle, too. That would be nice.

And I'm feeling slightly less beaten, but I won't be climbing back on board for a few days yet. I've got to wait for good weather, for one, and for my shoulder to fix itself up right. And my shin.

Monday, April 18, 2011

First fall

Was painful. I'll tell you what happened, best I can remember.

I was trying to climb aboard and Molly the Neighbor girl saw me trying to get up and she was riding her horse. She came over and helt Siaga for me and I got on. We went out to ride around the field. He stopped at the irrigation ditch and started to walk across it like a good boy, then jumped. He started trotting and I was too off balance to pull myself straight to stop him.
He went into a canter and the saddle started sliding sideways. I really should invest in a Leather latigo.I'm holding on for dear life because there's nothing else I can do.

He goes into a gallop. The ground is whizzing by. He's eating it up like nothing. Even in that peril, I remember being impressed. Then the saddle's still slipping so I free my feet and kick off of him and bale because it was the safer thing to do. Glad I had a helmet on. I don't remember anything after that. I don't remember landing or anything. I think I passed out for a moment. Next thing, I'm waking up, on the ground, and I'm seeing two of everything it's all bright and sparkly. I'm panicked because I don't see Siaga. Molly says he's right behind me and just fine. She grabs his lead and we walk off, with me half wandering along behind and sometimes leaning on the saddle. I was too out of it to get back on.

After that, I don't remember crossing the irrigation ditch again. I don't remember leading him to the back paddock, or taking off his bridle and putting on his halter. I don't remember taking off his saddle, but mom says I did. I don't remember leading him back to the barn. I don't remember closing the gate or shutting him in his stall or taking off his halter. But I did. I do remember feeding him and giving him water though. I went up again a bit ago to check on him and make sure he was ok and that I had locked all the gates. I did. Somehow. I'm walking with the use of my bamboo staff now.

I do not think I have a concussion, my eyes are fine and my memory has returned, that of which that had vanished, like the memory of moving home again, and I see fine and move fine and talk fine and I don't have any head ache. I do, however, have a sooooore left shoulder, where I think I took the brunt of my fall, and I've got three golf balls on my knee, and my shin is a little swollen. I've got a few scrapes, but I'm fine. I'll be hurtin in the morning though!

And I'm very thankful to Jeni, for giving me a helmet, because I probably would have died without it. Or something like that.

Despite all this, I'm still looking forward to my next ride. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

I say NAY You shall not!

That was his attitude yesterday when I tried to mount up. He made a game of side stepping his hind quarters every time I stepped up on the chair. I'd set the chair by him and he'd be ok, but as soon as my boot hit that chair, he'd swivel those hips away from me. I'm assuming his back and his legs and his feet are sore from all the extra work he's been doing after being pasture decoration for so long, but I couldn't let him get away with it, so I started moving him on purpose in a tight circle, and only let him rest when I had my foot on that chair. I eventually got him to stand still while I mounted from that chair.

I did attempt to mount from the ground... well... that was not successful. Dad maintains the belief that I do not have the muscle required to pull myself on his back, I dissagree. I've mounted horses who are 15 or 16 hh with that same saddle with the stirrups that same length, so I know that is not the issue. I discovered the real issue. I put my foot in the sirrup, I tried to pull myself up, and wham bam the saddle slipped to the side and I had to loosen it and straighten it back up and recinch it. The thing is, that saddle was as tight on his back as it would go without making him wheeze to breathe. So the problem is, I suppose, that he does not have high enough withers and spine (very flat back, for all that he's narrow) to hold up the saddle. So I really don't know what to do about that. The saddle fits fine, as far as I can tell there is no problem with the sweat patterns on his back. He's just difficult, I guess.

So anyways, I got up. Eventually. And we walked around the corn field, and we crossed a deeper part of the irrigation ditch. He didn't jump. He didn't bolt. He walked into it, stuck his nose in it, pawed at the water, then we went on our merry way.

I think if the weather holds nice through the afternoon today I'll bring him down and work with the chair and not actually try to get on, no saddle or bridle or anything, just standing on the chair and laying over his back and stuff. Just because it's a very big waste of time spending a half hour trying to get on him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And stop we did.

Today's ride was great. It slipped my mind to lunge him first, but it made no difference. He was awesome. We rode up the hill, around to the back of the barn, and back, into the corn field, all the way around it... where he had his first water crossing experience with a rider. He was a little nervous, but I had purposely aimed him at a slightly wider, shallower, less scary part of the irrigation ditch, and after a bit of "NO" and my "YES" he uhm... I'm not sure if he JUMPED it or if he bolted across it. But the important thing is... he crossed it. So I gave him a pat and a good boy!

And the rest of the ride, we worked on woah and go. By the end of the ride, he was stopping for me rather reliably, usually at my just saying "Woah." If he kept going, he would stop when I tighten my abdomen to stop following his motion and a repeat of the command. A few more rides like this and I feel more comfortable asking him to work in a trot. But not yet.

It's been such a long time since I've ridden so much, and while yes, it is like riding a bike, you never really forget, I've forgotten my balance. His trot is beautiful, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel like I'm going to pitch over his shoulder at any minute. Anyways. That will come back in time. And with enough rides, I'll get there. This one lasted a whole hour and 15 minutes. Or something like that. A long ride for him, but we took our time going places and he got to stop frequently.

Also, I learned that when he's walking along in a relaxed state, he responds extremely well to very slight directions. I still use the reins to ask him to change direction along with my weight, but all I had to do was barely lift one side and barely touch the other to his neck, with a change in my weight, and he would change direction. Such a smart psycho pony!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oh the lessons we learn...

Let's see... What have I learned today?
1. Putting up fences, even short stretches, is hard work.
2. You are likely to be cut by wires when putting up fence.
3. Stacking firewood in the heat as dad cuts it is also hard work.
4. Even if you don't burn easily, when working outside in a tanktop under a hot sun for several hours, you need to wear sun screen.
5. Wood has sharp edges, and, when swung carelessly about, will scratch you if it can.
6. This is why you wear gloves, jeans, and something more substantial than a tank top. I had on capris. At least I had gloves.
7. Gloves also make poison ivy harder to get.
8. Siaga really, really, really likes spring grass.
9. If I saddle him up and attempt to mount up by myself, it goes a lot smoother than with multiple people trying to help me get on him.
10. Siaga's a real gentleman under saddle when we aren't walking on grass.
11. He really likes riding in the corn field.
12. He only tolerates riding on the road.
13. Steep ditchlines are a cause for alarm when carrying a very heavy weight on your back, but don't worry, you'll get up (or down) it without losing your cargo.
14. Siaga has a beautiful trot. I know this because I rode it. It took me three seconds to get him trotting along in the feild and he seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. He almost floats. It's a little bouncy, but not terrible, and it's easy to post to.
15. The grand finale... after all that, it's VERY nice to take a cold shower.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Brave? I think so.

I've been asked if I'm a thrill seeker. Do I like roller coasters? Yes. Do I think climbing on the back of a horse who's 7 years old and still greener than spring grass is fun? Yes. But no. I'm not, not really. I guess those are exceptions to the rule.

Anyways. If it's not terribly muddy tomorrow and I can ride without sopping up the front yard, I will. And not just a pace the yard ride, either, because if that's all Siaga and I do, we'll get so bored of riding it won't even be funny. So even though it's supposed to be god-awefully windy tomorrow, and 82 degrees, we're going for a ride on the road. Just a little walk.

There's just something about that sound. The sound of horse hooves on the pavement, that clip clop. That sound of leather creaking and horses breathing and the feeling that comes with it all. I've missed it.

I'm so ready to have that back.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Fear for Beauty

Beauty is my dog, a lovely Siberian Huskey x Spitz. She's about 13 or 14 years old. She's deaf. She has arthritis and a bad limp. She falls down sometimes. Despite this, she's happy, energetic, and just as loving as always.

I'm afraid her days are coming to a close. I don't know if she will make it through the summer heat, even with her long hair shaved off to make her cooler, and if she does, I really don't think she'll survive next winter. Her time is nearing the end, and if her suffering becomes worse and there is nothing to do for it, she will have to be put down. I do not look foreward to this day. I'm sad thinking about it. She's been there for me when the most prominant deaths in my family happened. She was the one that ran out the door to, who I threw my arms around and cried into her ruff. She's the one who like to go swimming with me in the creek, but hates getting a bath. She's the one who would never bite a human, for any reason, but also the one who hunted and who had to be put on a chain for her hunting habits on the neighbors chickens. (Gah...)

I hope that her remaining time with us is happy and lovely, and that when her time comes, she is peaceful and I hope that she will go in her sleep, so that I don't have to watch someone kill her. I'm going to miss her when she does go. She's been with me since I was in the second grade. That's about 12 years. Plus the year and a half of her life before she came to us.. she's almost 14. Gods, I'm going to miss her.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Something Interesting

So earlier today, I answered a question. The question was "Would you rather have something interesting happen, or something good happen?" I said something interesting. Well... that's what happened.

I get Siaga out, lunge him, groom him (which covered me in horse hair and put it in my mouth and every where else) and I saddled him up. Put the leather bridle on and had to make it a wee bit bigger, but it fit well.

Then it took me ages to get up on him. Because he has like no withers and a very flat back, for all that he's narrow, the saddle has nothing to hold onto, and slips and slides a bit unless I tighten it so tight that he wheezes when he breathes. So I have to stand on something to get up there. The problem is... the chair we were trying to use was just down right FRIGHTENING.

So by the time I finally get a leg over, I'm off balance, trying to get situated, have no stirrups, and he dodges sideways and takes a flying leap, straight into a jiggy canter, aimed at the front porch. I nearly pissed myself. I'm off balance still, have no stirrups still, on a horse that's lost his brain, aimed at a foot and a half high cement porch with a roof. I finally settle into the saddle enough to lean back, say "whoa" and give the reins a tug... Nothing. No response. One rein stop time. I got him turned and he spiraled another time around, and then stood still. I couldn't get my stirrups and so mom came over and gave me a hand. After that he settled down.

And we walked all over the yard, and I found that I could use the reins a lot less than the last time, and found he would start the curve and turn process with a shift of my weight, but would still walk forward, like in a really BIG wide curve. We even got a bit of a walk on the road, and around the garden.

Well that's all I wanted to say. :)

Dear Wind:


Siaga gets a little spooky when it's windy. And today... well, the wind is seriously roaring. You would think that being a horse who's grown up in the woods, he wouldn't spook at fluttering leaves and the sound of the wind whistling through the trees by now... but he does. Seriously.

So I guess I'm going to attempt it still, I mean he's only lightly jittery, not like holy-crap-flip-over-break-your-neck spooky. It's a clear day, all in all, and he'll be getting a good work out in the front yard before hand.

I think I might just do more in the front yard with turning in circles in both directions and figure 8s and straight lines and backing up and stopping and such. Of course, I'm attempting to teach him his stearing and gas and break pedals with the weight of my body, but I'm employing every trick I've taught him. Say I'm turning left, I give a slight pull on the left rein, push the right rein to his neck, and turn to the left and face what I'm wanting to go to, which goes along with leg pressure. ... He's getting there. I can turn him in the general direction, and fine tune it and end up standing right over that leaf I was aiming at. It just takes him a moment to remember that woah means stop. For some reason, he's great with that on lunge or while leading. I mean he instantly slams on the breaks at that word... in the saddle, not so much. So we "one-rein-stop" and stand for a minute before I ask him to move off again.

Anywho.. I was really hoping to actually go on a RIDE and not just pace the front yard, but it's so windy and so the wooded areas are spooky and the road has trees on both sides and sorta acts like a wind tunnel, so that's not exactly a good idea. So I guess today we'll stick to the yard and if it's calmer tomorrow, we might actually go on a real ride.

Also, my new billet came in today. I can't remember if I posted it in the last one, but my nylon one was missing off my saddle, I guess someone took it. So my new one is leather, black, and has pretty decorative stitching. It's going to look just Smashing on my saddle.

On Saturday I'm going around and picking up applications in stores in the Richmond mall and stuff... I need a job to fund this boy! He eats like a pig! And I want (not need) a new bridle for him, preferably a nice black leather western headstall. I've got a brown leather one and a red nylon one. The red one fits him weird and tries to ride into his eyes, which is dangerous, and the brown one just simply doesn't match. lol.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We rode

I brought the boy down today and he was saying GRASS OMG GRASS. I've been limiting his intake lately to prevent colic, but he got quite a bit of extra today while I groomed him. I had thought if he proved calm enough I'd ride, so I had everything out and ready. Once the hard part of getting him clean while he's trying to get as much grass in his mouth as possible was over... I started tacking up. Took a while, and a bit of help from mom to hold the lead while I buckled things and adjusted things. Since the off billet was taken off of my saddle at the stable, I had to use an old one, and it just didn't have holes at the right interval, but we got it figured out. Also, I've got one coming in the mail, brand new, black, decorative stitching... So anyways I finally got up there and he was a little nervous (and I was way nervous.. with mom, dad, my nephew, and my brother all watching and waiting for him to dump me) but he only jigged sideways a couple times and I got him aimed at the corner of the house and around we went to the front yard. There, we walked in figure 8s and circles and I practiced guiding him the whole time by turning to where I wanted to go, but also guiding him with my reins by direct rein and neck rein. He has "whoa" down... sorta. It takes him a moment to realize he needs to stop. And he's still not sure about what that means when I squeeze his sides with my legs, but he sure as hell knows what my "click click" sound I make at him means. I squeeze and if I get no reaction, I click at him and he goes. He has the turns down decent. Just a wee bit rusty on them, but he'll polish up quickly. I'd put up pictures... but the photo uploader is not wanting to work right. Maybe photobucket will work.... Testing... Also... I apologize that all of this text is in one big paragraph. For some stupid reason, it doesn't make it's own boxes, apparently, and I can't remember the proper html for that.

So here's the pictures... you'll have to click on them to see the whole thing. It was the only way I could get them in there. Gah. Stupid computer.




Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just a few tidbits

And a youtube video:

Friday, April 1, 2011

He's HOME! Finally!

So at just before 4:30 pm, I leave my house in my mother's Jeep, headed off to where my brother lives. Get lost on the way, call Adam in a panic going "I'm lost! Help!" "Where are you?" "On [blah blah] road by the high school!" (not the high school I went to, of a totally different district.) So Adam got me unlost and I made it to his house by 5. From there we went to the Middletown Mall, and met Jeni, and then I went with her to Triple S. (Yeah. 3 car trips to get me there... one to get back.) I got Siaga out of his stall and ran him in the indoor for a little bit to run off the edge. I attempted polo wraps.. but I figured since he was new to them and since they were a little long (will need to cut a few inches off, I think...) that I would just leave them off incase they unwound and spooked him. Took us about five to ten minutes all in all to get him to cooperate with the idea of getting on the trailer. Once on, he set about eating his hay and calling for his buddies. When the trailer started moving, he settled down. We stopped at an Auto Zone to fix the lights, and I stood in the trailer, visiting and making sure he was all right. Then we were back on the road. ...And we got a little lost, but only because 73 throws a Houdini act. And finally, at about 10pm, we were home, and there I was, unloading a nervous horse in to my front yard in the dark. I took the time yesterday morning to make sure everything was ready in his stall right away, his hay was already hanging, bedding down, water in the bucket. I went to check on him again later before I went to bed. This morning I went up to feed, and it was mind blowing to walk in that barn and he whinnied at me and it was almost enough to make me cry. After that, walking back down the hill, I looked down and saw his hoof prints in the dirt from the night before, and I realized just how much I missed little touches like that. Hair caught in a branch, sprigs of hay in his mane, hoof prints in the dirt, the fog of his breath on early frosty mornings, and of course his neigh. I'm so happy he's home.