Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hey Siaga, why are my feet on the ground?

So today I decided to do something new. I brought out his bridle (with my newly fixed leather reins) and the helmet, and the riding crop and all the grooming supplies. Brought him down. Brushed his back and legs and belly and brushed out his mane, got his bridle and my helmet on, got him next to the chair, and got on board bare back.

Now, this was my first actual bareback ride. I mean, I've ridden bareback before, but always I was riding double (and had someone in front to hold on to) or someone leading from the ground, where I could hold on to the mane with both hands. This time was way different. Because I was in control and the only one on his back, I couldn't hold on to anything or anyone. So I had to use my legs and butt and core to stabilize and hold my balance. This was a challenge. It was really hard to do! So I ended up just letting him stand around and graze for a while, while I got used to the way he moved and how to hold myself in that transition between movement and stillness. After a while I asked him to move out of the back paddock and into the back yard. Then after mozying around there for a while, we went to the front, walked around the woods there. We spent some time working on moving off of leg pressure. And then we were in the front yard, grazing again, and dad walks out with his camera... just in time to see Siaga LAY DOWN with me on his back. At first I thought he was going to roll, but he just laid there and grazed. So dad took some pictures of me taking advantage of this and sitting all over him. Should have laid on his back. :)

And then when it became clear Siaga wasn't going to get up, dad came over and got the reins and I leaned forward over his shoulders and held on to his mane for dear life. Up he scrambled and I nearly fell off but held on. And then after dad went back inside, damn horse did it again. The thing is, his 'lay down' is so smooth that I didn't, honest to God, feel a single thing when he went down pretty much until my feet were on the ground. Up is a different story. Second time, I sat there and pulled back on the reins to keep his head up and his nose out of the grass and popped him on the hip and up he went again. That one was a little better, managed to stay on still. Then we went around the yard a little more and back to the back lot.

I also noticed in the first few minutes, that my legs are long enough that, without a saddle between us, I can touch my toes together, just barely, under his belly! That made me giggle. :D

Sunday, June 26, 2011

He says: HAY!

Went to get hay today. Prices have risen at my normal hay supplier from $3 a bale to $4 a bale. Went there expecting to shell out $42 for 14 bales (as that's about all I have space for) and ended up paying $56 for 14.

Got the grass mix instead. It's nice and greeeen and smells delightful, and Siaga was fairly quivering with anticipation when we backed the trailer into the barn.

When I was done I cut open a bale and tossed him a couple flakes, which he happily dug his nose into. :)

Pretty boy likes his hay. And now maybe he will calm down further with there being only trace alfalfa in it instead about 50/50.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Poor Beauty...

I took my lovely husky to the vet today, because her leg that she's been holding up suddenly puffed up and swelled to twice it's normal size.

Vet took a couple x rays and discovered that her bone mass in the humerus is very abnormal; there is very little wall left and is mostly just the hollow. Her shoulder was very swollen as well. The vet said that it looked like a sort of cancer.

She gave me three options. I could opt to have her put under for a while for a biopsy, and then if it actually is cancer, to treat it as such. I could have her put under for an amputation of the whole leg and shoulder. Or, I could put her on pain meds and wait.

Because of her age, I decided that putting her under was too risky and the vet had also said that the surgery would probably be pointless if (if indeed it is cancer) it had already started to spread throughout the body. So I opted for the pain meds.

I just want her to be happy and comfortable. She's already 14 or so years old, and she's lived an active and full and happy life, and I have no desire to prolong her pain more than necessary.

The vet said that when she starts to have too much trouble getting up and down, shows no interest in food, is very lethargic, and won't take the pain medication, that that would be the time to bring her back. For.. well, you know what for. That last trip.

I have a feeling it will not be long. I want to be there with her when they give her that shot. I want to be holding her.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


My grain bucket was open again this morning. There must be like... a whole family of coons living in my barn. Or something. Because I even sat something heavy on it this time, but it was sitting nicely on the ground and the lid removed and another day's portion missing.

Good thing I'm not planning on continuing to feed him grain, which he doesn't need right now. After this stuff, I'm going to be switching him to all hay, which will mean that he'll get a little more hay than normal every day, but that's ok. He needs the extra bulk, I think. I just can't get him to cover those ribs up, though he's plump in every other area.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Siaga has taken "soundproof" to a whole new level. Dad fired off the gun in the barn today, only five feet away from Siaga (raccoon that had started stealing my grain and tearing up my barn and terrorizing my cats) ... and Siaga jittered a little, but I give him major props because he didn't make any sounds, he didn't rear up, he didn't buck, he didn't run, he didn't even try to go outside or step away. He just jerked back a little, like he was going to rear up, but didn't.

Maybe I should try mounted shooting with him...?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Belatedly, Siaga got his 4 way vaccine today. I was terrified of the process and even the idea. I told him "Siaga, I love you, and I don't want to hurt you. So just please stand still and don't kill me when I stick you with this."

And I poked the needle (big needle!) in his neck muscle, pulled back a bit to check for blood, and gave him half on the left, and half on the right.

And I wasn't expecting it to be so easy! Siaga didn't react at all. He stood perfectly still and paid it no mind, and it helped that the needle was so sharp that it was like poking soft out-all-day butter with a tooth pick. There was no resistance at all. It was a little freaky. But I did it, and I'm confident I can do it again.


Monday, June 6, 2011

That's much better.

Siaga and I went on a ride with Molly and Jughead today for the first time since my fall. He was a little nervous at first, but settled down and was content to let Jughead walk in front of, beside, or behind us.

Jughead had a few issues today, though. He kept arching up his neck and prancing around, even after Siaga settled into it and got used to the idea.

I probably won't purposefully ride with other people very often, but he does need to get used to other horses being ridden around us, whether we are going along with them or not. The horseman's camp in Houston Woods will help a lot with this, as there will be lots of horses that he will have to share the trails with.

Also, I learned what happened when I fell all that time ago. Apparently, after I jumped and hit the ground, I rolled several feet, which explains all the scraps and bruises I had. When I fell, I fell close to Siaga and he jumped over me, though Molly at first thought he had stepped on me, though he didn't. Then Siaga kept running a little way, turned back, came up to me and sniffed me, then walked away a little bit while Molly took over, which is where I came to. Scary. And to think my helmet only has one little crack in the visor. So glad I had it.

Oh, Siaga saw cows today. As a QH, he was, according to the people who brought him to us, bred specifically to cut cattle. I don't know if it was just curiosity, fear, or 'cow sense' that caused him to go high alert and want to investigate the cows. I lolled at him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Siaga and I covered new ground yesterday. A lot of it.

This time, we rode for fifty minutes. I've not been timing it specifically. I've just been deciding it's time to head back when I see his energy start to go down and him lose interest in the goings on around him, which is when he normally tries to force me to let him stop and graze, on the side of 725, no less, with semi's screaming by, which he doesn't even flick an ear at.

Anyway. The farmer who tends the field across the road, aka my normal riding ground, plowed. And soon he'll be planting, and since it's corn this year, I won't be able to ride there, even around the perimeter, as there won't be room for Siaga between the trees and the corn, and won't be room for me between Siaga and the tree branches.

So, we rode the road yesterday. We turned left out of the yard, passed the neighbors pond, where he spooked at the neighbors boat, with a little sideways jitter and a snort. (This is, apparently, how he spooks at things. He does a jig and snorts, realizes its not coming after him, and calms down.) Then walked on by it. We turned and went up and around the big hill at the end of the road, since I didn't want to risk the narrow shoulders of the road going up the hill.

Then we walked into the next corn field, went around part of it, and came back, not wanting to get caught in a place I probably shouldn't be in, crossed 725, headed along the corn field across the road, turned right on Simpson, headed toward Huston woods, and turned around at the house that belongs to a couple who I used to go to church with, who farms most of the land around there.

Siaga then proceeded to spook at their barn, which is big and white and close to the road. He was fine with on his left, but once he turned around and saw it on his right he was all "WOAH WHERE'D THAT BARN COME FROM." *sigh* And he jittered and snorted, and we went on our way, back home.

Cross back over 725, go to the very top of the big hill, and look out over the valley...

It was stunning. I have never felt so on top of the world. On Siaga, on the hill, the whole thing was amazing. There, I did let him put his head down and graze, while I sat there in stunned and awed silence, wishing I had a camera.

The way back down was quickly impeded by the neighbors dogs. *another sigh*

One is a little fuzzy white terrier, and the other is just as small, black and white, very fat, very slow, with long silky hair. The terrier was running along, and Siaga spotted it before it spotted us. He was on high alert.

When it finally noticed us, it came running and barking and I felt all of Siaga's muscle tighten up like a really pushed down spring, and I said to myself, "To hell with this, I'm getting off the roller coaster." And so I hopped down and led Siaga away, with me between him and the dog. I was more afraid of what would happen to the dog, if it tried to get Siaga, and what would happen to me, if Siaga bucked or bolted, than what would happen to Siaga. Anyway, I urged the dogs away with my riding crop, until the neighbor came out and apologized, saying she wasn't aware I was out riding, and I told her it was no problem, that I hadn't known the dogs were out.

After get past the dogs, I remounted in the middle of the road, passed the boat and the pond (with no problem) and then just when I'm about to cut across the road to my drive way, a white van comes up behind us and I get Siaga in the grass, and the idiots don't even slow down. Thankfully, Siaga is road safe, and didn't care that a big white thing pulling a trailer just sped by him, about 4 feet away. He was too busy trying to get his nose in the grass.

So that was our ride. And it was nice. If I don't have to work this evening, we're going to ride out again, this time saving our energy for exploring down Simpson road, rather than exploring corn fields. This way, I can work up to getting him fit enough to ride all the way to houston woods, and ride the trails there.

His muscle tone has already greatly improved since he came home, and he's packed on quite a bit of weight. He still has visible ribs, but there is a layer of fat over them, and he has a slight case of a gutter back. Which confuses me; a sign of being too skinny, paired with a sign of being too fat. Hrm. Well. The way I see it, his coat is normal and shiny and gleaming, he's drinking plenty and eating enough for his level of activity, and getting a decent balance of nutrition, and doesn't at all look unhealthy or too skinny in any other place save for those ribs, while everywhere else looks normal or slightly plump.

Also, I'm saving up my money to buy a car of some sort, preferably a little truck, and then after that, I'm going to be getting him a new saddle. The one I have, I don't know what size it is, but it is pinching on his shoulders and not doing its job properly. I pulled out the ones from the garage, only to discover that the one that I had thought was in good condition had a broken fender strap, on the left, and I wasn't about to risk riding in it, though it was a beautiful saddle. I took all the usable billets and straps and even the stirrups off of that one, and set it and the other one (not the one I use) out for trash, and someone, who wasn't the trash man, picked them up in the middle of the night, so hopefully they will find their way to a saddle repairman.

Also, I'll need a fully leather saddle if I go to Findlay anyway, so I might as well get one that's all leather. I'll have to find someone who offers demo's, though, because I really want one that's going to fit him right. After all, he's a small horse and I'm a bit of a big girl, and I don't want to cause him any problems.