Monday, December 10, 2012


So Siaga is no longer living here with me. My riding instructor, Kathryn, called me a few weeks ago to say that she's moved to a new barn that's closer to me and said she needed some help and she'd be glad to give Siaga the last stall if I'd come out and do stalls and feed a few days a week.

So last Thursday was moving day and Siaga and I now have an indoor arena and an outdoor arena, lots of fellow horses, lots of trails, etc, to play on.

We rode in the indoor on Saturday, and he was behaving so well! I had a lot of fun playing "snake" and winding around the puddles on the floor (I guess the roof leaks a bit in places) and he was moving off my seat and woahing and going and changing direction with all the ease of a well trained dressage horse. Or maybe not quite that well, but he's getting there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yellows and browns and greens and pinks

So my lichen fermentation is going well, I definitely collected the right lichen, it's turning into an absolutely beautiful magenta red.

Today I'm dyeing a t-shirt yellow with goldenrod. :) It's hang drying as I type.

I'm so excited, I can't wait to see how beautiful it is when it's all dry. <3 br="br">

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I'm incredibly sorry I haven't been posting lately, but really nothing has been happening. I've got Siaga back on his timothy pellets to pack weight on for winter instead of being his fit summer self. We've done a bit of bareback riding but nothing major, since the weather has coincided with my work schedule to be rainy and dreary and cold on every day off and warm and beautiful and sunny every day I have to work. :/

In the mean time, I have taken to my crafting again, with a new vengeance, combining my love of nature and my artistic qualities to form a new passion for herbal dye. I even thought "I'd really like to have a sheep or two" just for the wool to dye! Maybe someday. And maybe someday, I'll have an outdoor fire pit just for sticking big vats of herbal dye and fabric over. :)

Currently I have a jar of British Soldiers Lichen soaking in a solution of ammonia and water to steep for 12 weeks (will be ready December 30th or so) for a beautiful magenta dye. I've got turmeric for yellow and rosemary for a soft sagey green.

This is bliss.

Edit: Also, I just realized this is my 200th blog post here in Hoof Prints, go me!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I've been told I'm fearless.

I have a friend who believes, apparently, that I am fearless, because every evening, and whenever I can, I go up to the barn to visit Siaga, climb in his stall, and sit on his back. No saddle, no bridle, no halter or rope or anything. Just horse... and me. It's my equine therapy.

I told this friend, no, it's not that I'm fearless, just that I love it so much that I'm willing to risk everything for the chance to ride. And it's true.

Yesterday Siaga and I had our second lesson with my instructor, and he was so much better. He's really starting to listen to my seat, requiring less and less input from the reins, we even walked one of the starting patterns of a first level dressage test!

And then came the part that really scared me. Kathryn put Siaga on a long line and we lunged at a trot, with me riding. We were working on my rising trot.

I. Was. Terrified.

But I pushed through it, lift ribs, ride the trot to ask him to pick up the pace, click click, and we were trotting, no spanking or leg signals involved, he picked it up when I asked. Granted, I can't hold a trot on him like I can on Spirit or Arwen (Rose, the horse I started my lessons on, her name has been changed) where I can go and go and go on them, but fear just really squeezes my innards all to heck and back on Siaga. But, I was brave, and I asked for it anyway. I didn't fall off, though I almost did a few times. Each time my balance started to slip, he would stop, wait for me to right myself.

Didn't I say he'd shape up into a nice riding horse some day? We're getting there. :)

Friday, July 13, 2012


It went like this.

So we get Siaga in the trailer after a little bit of cajoling and drive to the barn, wait around for half an hour for someone to get there (aka the instructor) and then put him in cross ties in the wash stall away from the other horses and groom and tack up there. Surprise: Siaga has no problems in cross ties unless other horses are around or he feels like you're gonna leave him all alone.

We lunged and got some bucks out. And then I got on.

We had a few sticky spots and Kathryn helped me guide him through those. He threw one little buck at the one pony outside of the arena and squealed, but didn't unseat me at all. By the end of the two hour lesson, we were working on trotting.

Kathryn rode him some as well and it was weird to see someone else riding Siaga.

Anyway, I did get lots of video but Brenda accidentally took my camera with her so it will have to wait. D:

Big day

Yup, today Siaga gets his butt kicked by my riding instructor. :D

I'm really nervous, but that's to be expected, I guess. I'm taking my camera so that Brenda can snap lots of photos and maybe even a video or two. :D

Thursday, July 5, 2012


So last night I took Siaga for a ride and worked on nothing but his being barn (yard) sour for an hour or so. We worked at it by resting as close as we could get to where he didn't want to go and if he moved then we trotted back the way we came so that he really had to work if he wanted to go back.

In all that heat, he was not pleased. So we were both dripping sweat when he finally decided... ok, maybe resting here in the shade by the mail box isn't a bad thing.

Yeah... the mail box. That's as far as we got. Gah.

On the plus, farrier is coming out to tidy up his hooves in a couple of days and next Friday Siaga is going with me to his first ever riding lesson. :D I can't wait.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Siaga, truely blessed

I've said before how I'm pretty sure Siaga is a gift from above, a being meant to move through life with me. He's been in many near-death situations, including apparent starvation, several bouts of colic, and a near run-in with long wood splinters from a tree struck by lightning.

Last night was different. Last night I wasn't there.

I had to work 12:30 to 9pm at Walmart. About 4:30 or so I had my lunch break and went to sit in my jeep and watch the storm roll in. I went inside before it started pouring.

When I got home dad was waiting outside, and informed me of all of the following: First, we have no power, so if Siaga needs water, you'll have to haul it from the neighbors pond. Second, we hope you have hay in the jeep because there's none in the barn (I had hay.) Third, two trees fell in your paddock. Siaga was outside.

These two trees fell in such a way that Siaga was trapped in a little tiny area, unable to get out of the rain and into the barn. One of the branches went through the roof over the stall (which is sheet metal, basically) and looking at that long spear of a branch, I can't help but think how easily that could have been Siaga. Thanks to my brother and my dad, they got most of the trees trunks out of the paddock and temporarily fixed up the fence.

Siaga is completely, totally, one hundred percent whole, entire, and ok. Not even a scratch.

My dog... on the other hand... got a fish hook stuck in his bottom lip last night and without electricity to see it well, we couldn't remove it, so he got to go to the vet this morning. He's still recovering from the tranq. But he's ok. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

So Glad

I'm super glad that when I took the opportunity to buy Siaga a new saddle, that I bought a Wintec with the Easy Change gullet system. I only have the extra wide gullet for the saddle, which fit last fall, but it is now too wide since he lost top line condition through the winter. I just placed a bid on the wide size (red) gullet on Ebay, here's to hoping I'll win that.

I'm glad I only have to fork out $10-20 for a new gullet rather than several hundred for a new saddle. Besides, I'm really daggone fond of my saddle. It's certainly the most comfortable saddle I've ever put my bottom in!

For now, I'll double up my pads and use a regular square pad and the fleece pad to help protect his spine. The saddle appears to fit when it's just sitting on his back, even when I girth it down, but once I'm on there it squishes down almost to his withers.

But thankfully, not a big problem! Easy fix, hip hip hooray!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Siaga and I went for a ride today. Instead of the normal routine, I took everything up to the barn and got him ready in the paddock and we rode around there after a lunge for a while, working on "whoa" and "go." And then we went for a while down the road.

Here is what I have learned today.

The good: Siaga will now usually whoa when I ask him to, and will usually stand still after that. Siaga also will usually turn direction with a shift of the reins of the reins and a press of the leg and a turn of the seat bones. Siaga will, almost without fail, start walking when I ask for it by walking my seat bones. These are all VERY wonderful things, and I can see in him a truly wonderful dressage horse in the making if we ever get over our fears.

The bad: Can we say... barn sour. Only he's sour for the yard, not the barn. He actually doesn't want to go back to the barn and pitches a fit if I try to ride him back to the barn. He just wants the yard with the grass. Sometimes he was ok, moving forward easily, stopping when asked, turning when asked, other times, he'd get himself stuck in reverse and back up in the ditch and try to turn around and I lost count of how many times I popped him with the riding crop. A few times I even got off and walked him through the sticky areas and remounted when we got past it. But there are so many deep ditches, and he through a fit by a bridge where the drop off is 5 or 6 feet,  and it's just sooo dangerous.

I'm planning on getting him to the barn where I take my lessons (when I can afford them again) and having my instructor work with both of us at once.

He also has issues with standing still while I am mounting up, though I can actually mount from the ground in the dressage saddle now if I need to.

The ugly: He only works when he wants to, or when there is no grass to distract him, or when there is no barn or yard to run back to, or no dogs to scare him. UUUUGH.

He really is like riding a giant troll. lol.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What the heck happened?

When I was fired from the barn, the horses there were still covered in winter fuzz. But... you could see they were still healthy. Their coats were shiny, if covered in mud, and they were spry and full of energy.

But today... that isn't the case. They have shed out, but they aren't shiny. None of them have much energy, some of them have big scrapes and cuts, one of the mares has cracks up the toes of her feet almost all the way to the coronet band, and hair rubbed entirely off of her face. Some of them are too skinny, some I can't even feel the ribs of. All of them were huddled in one of the shelters except for the one mare, instead of out grazing, and its not even a hot day.

Some had open fly bites on their legs and faces. The one mare, when she walked, looked stiff and in pain, taking short, stiff steps and only going a little way at a time. None of them seemed to have much energy except for the ponies, who seemed to be just fine.

I'm just really confused. What happened? :/ I mean, Siaga gets minimal care to ensure he is healthy and happy, because I'm limited on time and what I can do, but even though he's still a little skinny, his coat is shiny and gleams like the sun and he's full of piss and vinegar and just entirely LIVELY.


Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm going Primal

If I asked you, what does a lion eat? Or a bear? Or a horse? Or a shark? You could tell me. Lions eat meat. They are designed to kill and eat meat. Bears eat meat, too, but they also enjoy some plants. They are designed to be omnivores. Horses eat grass and other plants, they are herbivores and designed to eat plants. Sharks eat fish and other sea life... because... well, that's what they are designed to eat!

What are humans designed to eat? Twinkies? Ice cream? Candy? Nope. Not at all. Bread? Actually, no. Humans aren't meant to eat grains at all. In fact, horses aren't either, except for the small amount they have in seasonal times, but I'll get to that in a moment. Humans aren't meant to eat pizza (though I admit it is DELICIOUS) or pasta, or bread sticks, or cookies, or brownies, or chocolate, we aren't even meant to eat corn!

Going back to the horse thing, my pets have problems with their health, and I feed my house cat, my horse, and the dog grain free foods. My horse, grain causes excessive hotness in him, or at least, what he does manage to digest of it does. The rest passes through completely unharmed. Money for that grain right down the drain. My horse already has issues keeping his weight up because he is reactive and not a generally calm horse, this makes him hard to keep. My secret for putting weight on him? No grain. All the hay he will eat and all the grass I can give him, and then several cups every day of timothy pellets and a vitamin calmer.

The dog and cat, yes, I know what you are thinking. OF COURSE the dog and cat are grain free! Why would you feed them grain?! They eat dog and cat food right? That's meat based! ... Uhm, no. It's not. Read the label. If the first ingredient is corn meal, wheat middlings, brewers rice, or anything like that... you're feeding your dog or cat very unhealthy food.  Often it will say the first ingredient is meat, and therefore the main ingredient, but if there are 2 or 3 different types of grain products after that listed, they probably overall make up more of the food than the meat does, still. My cat and my dog are kept on Taste of the Wild Grain free food. The main product is meat, with fruits and veggies after that, which ARE healthy for them, so long as they get those in moderation.

So... I feed my animals grain free diets for their health... so why am I eating all these grains myself? I'm trying to prevent future problems and fix current ones. I'm going Primal.

Learn about Primal Blueprints here: Mark's Daily Apple

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grumpy faces

That is what I am making this morning, very grumpy faces. Today I have my "first day of work" at Wal-Mart, which really is just orientation and filling out tax forms and stuff. JOOOY. Not really. I am NOT looking forward to working here. However, I have a horse, and I will do anything to keep that horse, and to keep him healthy and happy, and if that means delaying my dreams a little while longer until I find a better barn job, then so be it. I will show up on time every day, work hard, and smile at all the customers and be polite and nice and happy, even if I'm grumping on the inside. Such is life.

And then, yesterday, I was out driving about with Devon's mom, and we passed two horse trailers for sale. They were both what looked like 2-horse trailers, one was nicer and white with nice windows and the other was more like a 2-horse stock trailer. The white one was $7000, and the other was $3500. Just another thing for me remember while I'm grumping, that hopefully I will soon be able to save up to buy a trailer to haul Siaga all over the place to.

After orientation today, I may go riding with Brenda, and if not, I'll probably come home and ride Siaga. I meant to yesterday but ended up having to help out around the house and didn't have time. D:

Anyways, another day of rest won't hurt, I suppose. :3

Monday, May 14, 2012

Compare: January to May

I know the first picture is a little difficult to see, but the bones of his hips, spine, and ribs are sticking out, and the sides of his back on either side of the spine where the saddle sits lost a lot of muscle (all of him did, actually, but it was most noticeable there) and became hollow, and now the weight tape (from today) says 932lbs (up from 890ish last time a few weeks ago) and bones can be felt easily but not really super visible. Muscle tone is coming back and improving. And then... look at that shine. This is pre-groom. This is before any brush touched him, before any fly spray. :D

Proud of how far he's come on the health scale. Anyone care to rate his body score? I'm thinking 4.5. lol

Monday, May 7, 2012

No sedation for the farrier!

Siaga got a visit from the farrier yesterday. He did really well, a little dancing around, a little pulling away, but since there was no sedative at all involved, I was so proud of him.

I had more issues than he did! I hadn't been expecting the farrier or to have to be outside so much yesterday, and it was very hot and humid. I was dehydrated, and I ended up passing out twice! Like, out cold.

First time, I felt the familiar nausea with the swimming vision and new it was coming, before I could anything Siaga jumped away and pulled the rope and woop, down I went. I woke up to the farrier trying to pull the rope out of my hands because I was holding on so tightly. I got up and thought I was ok then, and just as I changed my mind and said "I think I need something to drink," I fell again and was down for a few minutes that time, mom brought a couple glasses of water and a gatorade, and after that I was ok. Siaga took a few minutes of convincing to be certain I was ok, though. I'd try to walk around to his hindquarters to look at the bumpy patch on the back of his leg and he kept turning around to face me like "I don't want you to fall back there, mom!"

But overall, it went mostly smoothly. :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

But I'm too young for this!

Look at me, I'm 21. I eat well. Drink nothing but water (I have a soda about once every 2 or 3 weeks, and juice maybe once a week) and eat my fruits and (most of) my veggies. I'm only slightly over weight. I'm healthy.

So why in Heaven's name do I have gray hair?! I'm too young for this, seriously. And it's not just one, or two, or three, or even four. They are all over! It isn't really noticeable to the point that you could see them if you weren't even looking for them, but still. There they are.

After googling it, (because who doesn't google stuff like this?) I learned that early graying is sometimes a part of having Alopecia Areata, which I have. AA is an auto immune disease in which the immune system attacks hair follicles (usually on the scalp or beard area) and creates patchy bald spots. If it progresses to the entire head, it is called A. Totalis. If it covers the whole body (wouldn't it be nice to not have to shave arm pits or legs?) it is then called A. Universalis. I haven't had an outbreak since high school and have no bald spots that I currently know of, which is good, because I really don't feel like going back through the treatments again. (We chose the treatment of a cortico-steroid shot in the scalp. Or rather, several of them. Imagine, several injections in the scalp, at one time, and then every two to four weeks for almost two years. You can see why I am not eager to go back through that. I actually have nerve damage on the back of my head from this.)

Anyways. I'm all, you know, if I'm gonna go gray, it's all or nothing. Right now it's not bad, but I'm thinking, maybe, when it starts to get noticeable, I might just go and make my hair completely pale silver. lol. That could still be awesome looking! And very striking, no?

I know Siaga has a few white hairs here and there in his mane and tail, but they always grow in the same place, so if I pull them they grow back just as white in the same spot. These are slowly getting more progressive, showing up more and more. *sigh* I really am just too young for this.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We're getting there.

Siaga's gained about 25-50 lbs since I've changed up his diet and had his teeth floated. Considering all the changes we've made, I may never know what caused the issue in the first place, since we've treated him for parasites, both external and internal sorts, I've had his teeth floated, upped his grain intake (Well. I'm giving him 5 cups of timothy pellets along with 3 cups of grain, no sunflower seeds, a weight boosting supplement, a calming supplement to help keep him from burning off calories before he stashes them as fats and muscle, and an Omega-3 oil supplement.)

Anyways, he's almost back up to par, maybe another 50 lbs or so and he'll be back to normal.

The next cause for concern is that he has a reaaaaally thick layer of dandruff. Its thick, really flaky, and oily. In places, the winter hair is coming out faster and so those areas feel really gummy where the dandruff is more easily felt and seen. Boy needs a bath. A really good one. I also cut his mane short, to make scrubbing it clean easier.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pony must be sore

Because after having his teeth floated, he's off his hay a bit, but still eating his grain.

I don't see any hay balls from quidding, so it just seems that he's eating, just not as much as I would like. I gave him three flakes Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning he had only eaten about half of it. I left that there and then I threw him another flake for the night later and gave him his grain, (have been placing his grain in his bucket tucked inside an old tire to prevent him from flipping it) and this morning he had left the stuff in the net and eaten about half of the spare flake and almost all of his grain, but not quite all.

So I left that hay and gave him a smaller portion of grain. I'm assuming that his bite is a lot different now and possibly he is very sore from the floating. He does at least seem to be drinking his normal amount of water, thank goodness.

Edit: After going up for evening feed, I discovered that not only was his grain bucket empty, but so was his hay net, no hay on the ground, and only an inch of water in the bucket! So maybe he is not so sore now. Plenty of hay, normal grain ration, bucket full up, woohoo.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

And things went without a hitch

No sedative, but Siaga didn't need it. He walked right into the stocks, stood nice and still while we strapped him in, and then didn't fight it a bit while the guy did his work and filed down his teeth.

We then treated him for ear mites and lice, in case it's lice and stuff causing his extremely dry skin and weight loss.

Looking for him to be a lot better in a few weeks.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Dentist? Say what, mom?

Yup. Siaga will be getting his first ever floating tomorrow morning. I'm nervous, he'll be going to a new place, and in the trailer with the three horses in Brenda's possession, two of her own and one she brought home from the trainer's that she took the third horse to. She's trying to sell this one.

Anyways. I don't have any sedative for him, and Brenda assures me that he'll be just fine, they put horses in stocks and do it so they can't hurt themselves. But I'm still a nervous wreck because just because they can't (or shouldn't be able to) hurt themselves physically doesn't mean they won't, and doesn't at all mean they won't be traumatized by the experience. I'm going to watch the other horses go through it first, I think, so I know whether or not I feel Siaga should get a sedative for this.

It really needs done, since he's never had it done because I couldn't afford it (no kidding, you know how things come up at just the wrong time, like, Yeah, I'll get Siaga's teeth done this month... Oh woops... I got fired, now I have no spare money at all) and and and AAAAAH

So stressed about this.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting back to UTD

Siaga is now up to date on his worming (Ivermectin for spring time) and his vaccines (a 5-way including Rhino) and is also back on Dumor weight booster.

His body condition is still lower than I would like, though it's not exactly terrible. I think the goal is for him to gain about 50 to 75 lbs, if not 100lbs.

I did the math the other day, about that one guy at Whitewater who said he fed 8 horses on 27 bales of hay all winter. Siaga is one horse and slightly under weight. Through December, January, and February, but not March, he went through 24 bales of hay.

How in the hell does a person justify giving that little to their animals, and then riding a 9 mile trail twice around in one day? I just don't get it. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day went like this

Busy morning of packing up and getting everything ready. And then Brenda was here with Spirit. It took us about 45 minutes or so to get Siaga to go in the trailer. Normally, he throws a small fit, but typically he gets in after a few minutes. So once in, we shut him in and went to the park, and then spent a few minutes going out of the trailer, and back in, and we did this every time after.

For the most part, the ride was uneventful, but we did have a few oh god moments, where he got too close to trees or took me under low branches or something, but the worst moment was when we got to a small ditch at the bottom of a gully.

First time across, I had to get down and walk him across, where he basically jumped on top of me, though he didn't hurt me at all. And then we got to a log and I got back on, and then on the way back we had to cross it again and .... oh yeah... we flew.

He gathered himself and I sat deep and held on to his mane and the saddle and over we went. He then proceeded to bound up the hill with me holding on for dear life. I was shaking so badly after that, no idea how the heck I stayed on, but I'm seriously glad I did.

We did get in a few minutes of trot, too. And he didn't try to kill me, so that was good. But I still need a lot of practice with that at my lessons.

Back at the trailer, we untacked and he got a bath, and then back in the trailer and homeward bound. And you know as soon I let him out he laid down and rolled like crazy.

Big things

So I helped my instructor with the little girls lesson again yesterday before my own. And then we decided that I would start coming out on Fridays to have my lessons and also work to work off the cost of the lessons.

In yesterdays lesson, I had my first ever not lunge line lesson. We worked on changing direction without really using my hands, which is a hard, hard, hard habit to break when primarily, this is how Siaga is directed and pretty much every other horse I've ever ridden. And then we worked on trotting too, and let me say, it is a WHOLE OTHER BALL GAME when suddenly, you don't have to worry about just balance, you also suddenly have to worry about direction and keeping the horse going at the same speed and tempo. Rose is one of those lazy horses and she speeds up, slows down, speeds up, slows down, A LOT.

Second big thing? Today, Siaga and I are going to have our first real trail ride in Houston Woods. His firsts today will include meeting the Paso's (probably just Spirit and maybe also Dulche) and riding in the trailer with them, going to the park, riding on a trail with a bunch of other horses, and riding a longer distance than he has before.

I Google mapped the distance around the block here, it's 2.5 miles. This is the longest ride he's been on, this measly 2 and a half miles. So this should be interesting.

I'm sure he'll have plenty of other firsts, but these are the ones I'm certain he will experience.

Oh... what a day I will be having.

On the plus side, I think that if he decides its ok to follow the paso's, then he'll do just fine, you know, that herd mentality.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wooooaah Nelly. Or Siaga. Whatever.

Went for a ride. One honest spook, one "can I get away with it" spook. No falls. Hour ride. That pretty much sums it up. Started out with the neighbor girl until her horse stepped in a hole hidden in the grass and fell to his knees and Siaga reared and jumped sideways (AND I STAYED ON!!!) and then she went back on foot and Siaga and I stayed in the field. At first he was throwing a fit because Jughead was leaving him, and he threw his little test spook, in which I one-rein-stopped him and from there he scooted diagonally across the cornfield for a while as I was trying to convince him to WALK STRAIGHT DAMMIT. He really does have a nice diagonal. Too bad he's not doing it because I asked and only because he doesn't want to go where I want to go.

He did settle down after a while, though. Back at the house, we wove around trees in the woods to work on direction a bit more. He's getting pretty good at following me before I have to employ the reins, but still needs a touch here and there, or, a full on haul around if he's trying his hardest to NOT go where I want to go.

I'm thinking about taking him on his first trail ride in Houston Woods soon. Maybe this weekend, who knows.

When life knocks you down

You must eventually collect all your limbs and check what you've got, and stand back up. Today I called a woman that runs a barn that is like an offshoot of the big barn in Lebanon I almost had a job at. The woman that runs DHF had told me about this other lady, named Sheila, and said she might be in need of help. She wasn't in September.

I called back today. Turns out, she's moving her horses back to her barn in mid April, and will be needing help. If she is close enough to me, then I will quite likely have a job, starting April 20th or so.

I'm super excited. I may not be able to afford continuing lessons with Kathryn, but I would still be getting a lesson with Sheila once a week, because she wants her employees to know how she does things so that she can send them off with a horse to exercise the horse, and not worry about the persons riding skills.

Now if only I can sort out my health issues, I'll be all set to go, I think. I've got some serious stiffness in my lower back, and it seems to me that only riding helps to get rid of it, but it comes back as soon as my feet hit the ground again.

But, yesterday I tried something new, I have a Tribal Fusion Belly Dance DVD from Rachel Brice, called Serpentine. On disc 2, she has a section called Yoga for Backwards Bending. Because the back-bend is an important part of belly dance, it's important to have freedom of the back, and that is what it focuses on. Within the first five minutes yesterday, I felt it loosening up. Today I am just as stiff as I was before it, but I think if I keep it up I might finally loosen it up back there.

It seems the stiffness is mostly in the lower back, even below the small of the back, which is the curve forward, and in my hips. My left leg is fine to go forwards, but not backwards, and my right leg is fine to back, but not forwards. Gah. Anyways. YAY YOGA!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Earned my Reins

Today I earned my reins for my lessons... too bad today was the last paid-for lesson and I can't afford them anymore unless I work out a trade of work-for-lessons.

Anyways, I think I finally pretty much get the canter, and the proper form of sitting and not overly rocking with it, and we started on rising trot today. And then Rose was in heat and the mustang stud was in the arena and she was a complete .... ho. xD Every time we'd pass, she try to get closer to him, and he completely ignored her. Oh heavens.

My instructor put me to work after my lesson, had me help with a lesson she was giving to a five year old girl, it was the girls first ever riding lesson. So I helped lead the pony and sometimes trailed to make sure she didn't fall off while doing something complicated like the around the world thing. And she had me walk in front sometimes to do things with my arms, putting them up over my head or out to the sides or hugging myself or whatever, for the girl to do also. That was so much fun, I think I didn't stop smiling a single time. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Never managed to get the farrier that I had a few months ago out, so Brenda brought her farrier over today. Last time, Siaga had an entire syringe (IM shot) of Dormasedan (sp?) and today just had the oral paste.

So much improvement! He still jerked back and pulled a little, but for the most part, he stood still and calm. He leaned on me a lot for balance, and I don't mind. It's probably not something he's supposed to do but he doesn't have the best of feet and just kinda bumbles along anyways.

The farrier pointed out how his front left he sorta splays out to the side, the opposite of being pigeon toed. He said this is probably from when he was little and didn't have good trimming and care to start with, so when he would splay his feet so he could graze or drink, it just kinda stayed like that. He says he's got pretty good feet otherwise, good sole cavity and everything, just needs shortened up and a bit of correction on that front left.

Now all that stands between us and the Whitewater trails is a coggins test and some exercise. xD

Monday, March 19, 2012

I wish I had a camera for that!

Yesterday Siaga and I went for a little swim in the creek. I led him out to the creek to work on water crossing because no one has ever asked him to cross water. Most horses pitch a fit and fight it like crazy. ... Siaga acted like it wasn't even there, led right in, no head tossing, no jumping, no flinching, just marched on in. So proud of him.

Today I had another lesson, focusing mostly on canter. I'm getting better at it, I can hold on to it for a little longer, but what a work out that is! I only have one paid for lesson left, I'm going to see if there's any way I can work off my lessons somehow or something. Anyways, I took Devon with me today to watch so that when I start working with Siaga he can tell me what it looks like Siaga is doing from a different perspective, since I, on his back, won't have the advantage of being on the ground to get a good view.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another loooong ride

Went again with Brenda and her son, Devon, on a trail ride at Whitewater, 9 more miles. I think Spirit might be losing some weight. (As if)

It was a nice ride, a little muddy (and my boots, chaps, and girth are all very muddy) but we did have a sour spot. I'll just have to copy and paste the conversation I had with a friend where I told her about it, because I don't want to go back over it in my mind. I just can't even believe that people like that exist in the world (I mean, I can, but I just don't understand it.)

Brenda, Devon, and I were riding along and this older guy (looked like upper 40s, 50s maybe) and this kid (who was 16) caught up to us, and the old guy was on this bay horse. Beautiful, beautiful bay, with a white face and the white on the back legs came way up the front of the back legs.
But was so skinny, bones sticking out all over
Covered in sweat, huffing and puffing and panting
I'm pretty sure if looks could kill that guy would have died the moment I saw him.
They went around that trail TWO TIMES. It's a nine mile trail. Therefore, 18 miles, in one day, on a horse that could stand to gain about 200, 300 pounds, carrying a guy that was maybe 100 pounds more than he should have been carrying at all.
And the boy, I think he was not all there in the brain, talked kinda funny
But took the pains of showing off for me on his horse, using spurs and the reins like a whip, kept looking back at me on Spirit.
So the three of us tried to pass the two and leave them behind on the trail, no doubt the paso's would have easily skipped on ahead, but the old fucker (excuse my language) thought that was an invite to a freaking RACE
Finally we just stopped and let them go way ahead, and they weren't even out of earshot when I burst out "Did you see that horse?! Skin and bones, things all sunk in where they shouldn't be!" and Brenda looked at me like @.@
And I was like "What? That's just ridiculous." and then when our ride was over, she invited the two to have lunch with us and keep hinting about how some horses are hard to keep weight on in the winter and stuff and he said he kept EIGHT horses ALL WINTER on TWENTY SEVEN bales of hay. ALL WINTER. That's about how much Siaga has had, BY HIMSELF.
I wanted to cry, and kill that guy, and his show off douchebag son
This is why I want to run a rescue. I may not be able to stop horses from dying, but I can keep a few from having a life like that.

There was more that that guy had said that I didn't tell that friend, how he had said he had a mule once that wouldn't stop braying so he duct taped its mouth shut, how when Brenda's mare, Dulche, was pawing while standing tied, that he'd tie her leg up to teach her she can't do that. Dulche came to Brenda as an abused mare, taken her a long time to get this far. I just... I can't even comprehend. I just can't. I don't think people like that should be allowed to walk on this earth. There was, by the way, alcohol involved, sitting right there in the park drinking.

If he's there again next time we go, I'm going to do my best to report him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Good to know

That I can ride for hours in my Wintec dressage saddle and my butt NOT get sore. I went riding again with the paso fino woman, Brenda, on her buckskin, Spirit. The boy is big and fat and my saddle fits him almost perfectly.

We went to Whitewater Memorial Park in Indiana and rode the 9 mile trail all the way around. There are LOTS of up and down hills and creeks and mud holes. But my behind is fine, though I think the horses were pretty tuckered out, though they still had the energy to run for the trailer when they spotted it and we had to keep them reined in.

Hoping to get Siaga there soon, but he needs a trim and his coggins test done before he can cross state lines.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fell off

During my lesson today (in which I actually got a saddle rather than a surcingle and pads, though I still had to ride with no stirrups) I got to trot no-hands with Rose during my lesson with Kathryn for the first time, though I've been trotting no handed with Brandy quite a bit.

Anyways, I learned that cantering with something to hold on to right in front of me (with surcingle) is a lot easier than holding on to the pommel with one hand and the cantle with the other on the saddle.

Aaaaand... she spooked. And bolted. I kept my balance around half of a circle and then fell, rolling so I landed on the back of my right hip and then hit my head. Glad, again, that I had a helmet. Didn't do any serious damage, just knocked the wind out of me. Kathryn came and knelt down beside me and kept me talking, directed my attention to Rose, who was standing there looking ashamed of herself and looking worried, shaking like a leaf in the wind. It made me laugh that she looked so, and I had to get up and go pet her and tell her I was ok, even if she's a horse and probably hasn't got much of a clue of what the words meant.

Head is ok, hip took the brunt of the beating, a little swollen along the back of the hip, just above my butt, and a little red, will probably develop a bruise over night.

After a little breather, a bottle of water, and some anti inflammatory herbal tablets, I climbed back on and did some walking and a wee bit more no handed trotting and Rose thought she might put in some strides of canter here and there and so I rode those strides no hands and no stirrups.

Yesterday I went riding with one of the people I met at the Paso Fino clinic and rode one of the Paso's at a local state park on the trails there. I think it was about four hours in a saddle with no padding... yeah, my butt hurts. And now my hip hurts. But you know... I was thinking the other day about Parkour and Freerunning. If you don't know what that is: Parkour is the art of moving from point A to point B as quickly as possible, using your energy and moment in the most useful way. If there's a wall, you climb it. You leap it. A "cliff?" Jump and roll and get back up running. A rail? Dive through it. Freerunning is like Parkour only with out a destination, or a lack of need to get there quickly, it's Parkour with fancy stuff thrown in. Flips, spins, back flips, etc. I love to watch this stuff on youtube or in person, and I would love to learn to do it... if I could guarantee that I wouldn't be hurt while doing it.

There are some things in each person's life that he or she is willing to do regardless of risk to life or limb. For me, this is anything with horses. The wonders these animals bring to my life are worth the risk they bring, too. The risks that parkour brings to my life is NOT worth the wonder of being able to soar like a monkey. That being said, this is why I get back on and keep going.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lesson Session

I love it that I can see very obvious improvement at each lesson, like suddenly something just clicks and muscle memory takes over.

I'm now moving -with- Rose's trot, rather than bouncing along behind her. We have started on canter and I know I'll get it eventually, but for now I keep putting her in a counter canter (which feels totally weird) as we go around the lunge.

The best part is that in the occasions that I'm riding Siaga, even if I'm just spending quality time with him mozying around the paddock, I can certainly notice an improvement, and I would like to say he does, too, but he remains physically silent when I ask him a question with my seat bones. He'll get there eventually, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Paso Finos!

Went to a Paso Fino clinic yesterday for some possible networking. Ended up getting to ride one.

What a smooth ride! But I don't think it's my cup of tea, I prefer a bit of bounce with my horses. :)

But hey, new experiences and new friends are always welcome. And new ponies.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Safety of the Barn

Sometimes you just can't replace it. Yes, 24/7 turn out is wonderful and natural, and it's nice to have outdoor shelters.

But if Siaga had been standing freely outside last night, or in an outdoor shelter, three walled or not, he well could have been dead this morning when I went to feed him.

We had thunderstorms last night. Thankfully, so thankfully, Siaga was in his stall, safe from the lightning that struck a tree not even fifty feet away. There are major wood shards, ranging from one or two inches long to 4 or 5 feet long, all over the place, hanging in other trees or littered on the ground. The tree itself has a giant stripe that winds around it, from the tip of the branch struck all the way down to the ground, where the bark and the outer layer of wood was sheared away by the electricity.

The tree lost almost all of its branches and the roots are split. There's a rather large furrow in the ground where the strike landed.

Because Siaga's stall doors are double dutch and because the top door is missing, there were a few small splinters in his stall this morning but nothing big.

I'm so thankful that I leave the barn open to him and that he is always free to choose if he wants to be in or out. I'm also thankful that the barn is there at all, rickety and old and feeble it may be, but thank goodness it was there.

Here you can see the gouge torn in the ground. Keep in mind I can't fit my arms all the way around this tree.

A shot of the trunk and a pile of the branches that were torn out. Only the branches at the top remain, all the ones down the trunk were ripped off.

The tear spirals down the trunk.

One of the sets of splintered wood torn off the tree. This particular one is about 7 feet long and draped over a fence that boarders our property from the neighbors property.

Monday, February 27, 2012


First the first time in some 7, 8, 9, maybe even 10, I've forgotten, years, I cantered a horse, on purpose. Bareback! haha. First canter ever put the thought of ice cream in my head, this time it was more like oh god just hold on for dear life.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pony work!

I have begun the Top Line Improvement Regimen with Siaga. This consists of lunging (proper lunging, not the kind where you let the horse run to get the bucks out (or the Ya-ya's, as my instructor calls it). No, this is the kind with the surcingle, the long line passed through the bit on the inside to a D-ring on the side of the surcingle. We did mostly trot and canter after a warm up walk.

After that we did several minutes of backing up across the yard, and a lot of work to get him to put his head down low to better engage and stretch the back muscles.

And then we went for a short ride. Without the stability of a saddle, it's much more difficult to convince him to go somewhere he doesn't want to go, so I mostly let him pick. Oooooh boy. Surprise, Beth. Your pony likes the corn field, A LOT. When I gave him head, he went out in the field and started around the outside edge, and we crossed the ditches, and eventually he turned and aimed for the other side, then back towards home, with a lot of random zig-zagging in there. I ended the ride on the hill on the road past the driveway, I'm trying to teach him that going past the drive way is a good thing. We have such a problem with that area. If only I could be on the ground and on his back at the same time. xD Then I could lead/drive him from the ground AND from his back and work to get him over that issue. Gah.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Some days....

Are just.. bad. Bad, bad, bad days. But they say one door does not close without another one opening.

I hope this is so, because I lost my equine job today. The story is a long one and not something I feel like bothering to get into, but I've already sent out applications to other places and contacted a few other barns.

On the plus side, I sold my western saddle today, so there will be no more western riding for me. Now that that saddle is no longer an option, I have to either ride in a dressage saddle or bareback. Not that either of those options bothers me.

Anyways. I'm trying to remember to keep breathing and stuff. Turns out it's kinda difficult.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weight: Opinions

So I took a picture of Siaga today (with my phone) from the side (more or less) and would appreciate an opinion or two on his weight. Looks to me like he's back up to par and now it's just up to rebuilding the muscle he lost from inactivity and weight loss.

You can see the hollow that starts behind the upper point of his shoulder blade and sweeps down his back on the side of his spine, this is where he lost most of his muscle content, I think. Or at least, this is where it is most noticeable. His tail head is slightly more prominent than I would like and I would also like a bit more fat on his ribs, but I've never been able to cover up those ribs, even when he got so fat he had a gutter back. His neck is a little lean for my taste, also, but this is mostly a muscle issue, not a fat issue. I think it really boils down to improving his topline and working on that.

First ride of the year! (On Siaga.)

I fought the mud crusade today.

F0und one little rain rot spot left on his hip, but the rest is gone. We lunged and he got out a lot of bucks but I waited and waited on him to put that head down and flex into me instead of out.

For our ride, I worked on the walk exercises K has shown me, even rode some 200 feet or so with my legs stretched out to the side. He's getting used to me using my seat to ask him to walk, at first he completely ignored it and I had to pair it with my usual signals, a slight squeeze or a smooch sound. And I still have to put a hint of pressure on the reins with a "woah" and the "stop" signal with my seat to get him to stop.

When it came time to pass the drive way and go down the hill... oh boy. Suddenly, I'm sitting on a horse stuck in reverse!

It took me about 20 minutes to convince him that we were going to go down that hill. But over all, it was an ok ride.

Getting a good look at him now, I feel confident in saying that he's gained his weight back and now it's a case of rebuilding his muscle tone that he also lost.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yay riding lesson

Doing better at the trot. I can actually do it without feeling like I'm going to fall off... however, I have to force myself to breathe. I mentioned this to my instructor and she goes "Yeah, you're still doing better than some students I've had, I've not had to remind you to breathe yet, some have gotten themselves very red in the face." That made me laugh, I don't know why the heck I feel like I shouldn't be breathing. Maybe...


Maybe it's just breath-taking. :O

Overall though I feel I did a good bit better, but I'm still struggling with the right movement to move my hips to signal for a walk. I think I have the trot request down, but the walk motion is hard for me.

She wants me to practice on Siaga. I'm still worried about his weight, but by now he's gained back most of the weight and now we need to start focusing on rebuilding his topline. I think that on Wednesday, if it's decent, I'll load his back with padding and the surcingle and put on his bridle and we'll just walk. Probably on the road because I know the grass will be a big distraction.

I've ridden more in the past week than I have all winter, and I feel like it's beginning to show. Do to the pain in my lower back and my hip (the right hip, the same hip my dad, my uncle and other people on dads side of the family have big problems with (crap)) and the pain in my feet from the many hours I've spent on them in my muck boots, I walk with a limp, and I can't stand up straight when I first get up.

But strangely, I don't feel a thing when I'm on horseback. I think it's the fact that riding makes me so happy and my brain releases a ton of endorphins that mask the pain I'm feeling. It makes me want to spend all my time up there, and yet right now, sitting on the couch, my back hurts so much (dear trotting, you are really detrimental to my back when I also have a very voluptuous chest I must deal with) that the thought of standing up to go to bed and lay down makes me want to flop over on the couch and sleep here, which would not be a good thing, I'm sure.

I'm doing lots of stretches and almost-yoga and decompression for my spine and taking ibuprofen like its going out of style and soaking in the bath and just gah. And no, do not say "Welcome to the real world" or "Welcome to life with horses" or whatever. This is stuff I've always had, that has always been manageable and now I'm just trying to ignore it when the stretches and the ibuprofen and the hot soaks don't work.

I'm beginning to think what I need is either just a breast reduction and/or a session with a chiropractor to put everything back in to place. Not that I can afford any of that.

And regardless, I'll keep on trucking.

On the plus side, today I turned over one of the garden spaces at the barn and started the Thyme and Rosemary on inside planters to sprout. :) Felt wonderful to have my hands in the dirt.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Look, no hands!

Kidding, I don't have a picture for you to look at. However, I did a good bit of no handed riding today.

R let me ride around on Brandy, and Brandy spent her time going "Seriously? You want me to WALK? Do you know how much energy that takes?" Anyways, R led me around first and then lunged at a walk, and I did my "homework" from Kathryn.

After that, R put Brandy's bridle on and gave me the reins and let me have at it. Brandy's a good horse for learning on, since she has no desire to even move at a walk. Let alone a trot. So I dropped the reins and let her go where ever she wanted to and did my practices, no hands, legs to the sides, legs up in front, toes on her rump, etc.

R told me "Ok, trot." I was scared to, without someone leading me. But I grabbed the reins and her mane (with enough length in the reins that she chose where to go, I just held on to them because it seemed smarter) and squeezed her into a trot and every time I would unbalance myself she would stop or walk and then we'd try again, when I could hold it for a bit, R told me to drop the reins. I did. Wasn't using them anyways. Then she told me to let go of her mane. I told her it was a big act on my part to drop the reins, already. She replied that if I was going to fall off, the reins wouldn't save me, and neither would a handful of mane. So I worked on letting go, keeping my hands there, but letting go, and eventually with my arms out to the side. No saddle, no reins, at a TROT! :D I was so excited.

But I am DEFINITELY sore now. Though I did a good bit of stretching to free up my back. :) So happy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meet Rose

This is Rose, the QH mare I had my lesson on. Forgive quality, it's from my phone.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"It's like doing a sit-up every stride!"

So I had my first ever real life riding lesson today. On a strawberry roan QH mare named Rose. :D I had so much fun... but OW!

My core muscles are STILL screaming at me. It was a lunge line lesson, we focused on my balance. No saddle, no reins. She had put several pads and a vaulting surcingle (if you don't know what that is: I'll link you to Dover Saddlery).

The first part of the lesson, she had me sit on a chair, on my hands, so that my hands were under my seat bones, and had me doing various things to show me what the horse feels on his/her back from our seat. She explained that if we get tense, and tense the muscles there, the horse can't feel us anymore, and that's like letting go of the steering wheel of a car to dig in the back seat.

Then she explained how to drive a horse to a walk with the seat and how to ask for a halt. And then... it was time. She had me hold on to the handles of the surcingle at first, but occasionally had me stick my hands out to the side. She had to keep reminding me to lean back. She even showed me how to move Rose into a trot, and I think I got so excited that not only was my face splitting in two with a smile, but I kept unbalancing myself, and she had to remind me further to lean back in the classical seat. Another time, she had me stick the toes of my boots behind me on Rose's rump, and then had me drive her into a walk like that and then eventually back to a halt.

So basically... I learned to ride with my butt today. Oh boy, Siaga is gonna LOVE me when I start insisting on riding bareback so that I know he can feel my seat bones. (I do have a surcingle, but it doesn't handles. I do suppose I could give him some bit of padding though with that.)

Anyways. She told me she was surprised, for how limited my history of riding has been, at how well I held my balance. :O I'm not sure I believe her, but hey, I didn't fall off, so that means something, right?

So now I have riding lessons every Monday, yay!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The belief is in my bones.

With a high in the fifties and rain enough to sog the ground, I'm seeing fresh sprouts of green grass and furling forms of vibrant moss on the trees.

Yes, I'm feeling springtime in my bones and the excitement is quivering there like a trapped beast who knows the doors about to be sprung. Despite the very mild winter we've had so far (and despite the fact that we have another month or so of the frigid cold (or should have) I'm already sick of it and the frozen ground (especially mucking the paddocks at work when the manure piles are frozen to the ground, that just sucks) and I welcome the rain and the warm and the soggy ground the way the farmer welcomes it, knowing we'll all soon be back in action.

I can't help but think back a year and remember, almost exactly, what last January was like.

It was like sitting in prison. I would wake up every day, sometimes with my then-boyfriend there, sometimes not. I would scrabble around the filthy apartment (filthy because A: We were lazy, and B : because we didn't have enough room for all of our stuff or the money for a storage unit, so everything just kinda sat in the floor or on the coffee table, or where-ever) and try to pull together a meager breakfast (Hello, slice of bread, how are you today?) and then I would sit on our bed and play on the internet, half the time crying because I was lonely. I had no car, couldn't go anywhere, no real friends who lived near-by. Just an empty, dirty apartment and no food. I couldn't get out to go visit my horse or do anything fun or see friends. Nearly my entire month of January was like that. That was the month that really started to shake me, made me realize I had to get out of there.

By March, I was free, and by April, so was Siaga.

I have to be honest, I really hate hauling water when the hose is frozen. But hey, at least I can. I can haul him water now, instead of sitting in that apartment alone, wishing I could see the winter fluffies of his coat, feel the coarse hair of his mane, pick up each hoof and pick it out, rest my forehead to his, and tickle his nose while I tell him his star looked like a funny and squashed version of Texas.

Now I can do all of that, and while I wait on the weather to warm up a bit more and his weight to return again after the initial winter loss, I look forward to the first ride of the year.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Well. Rain rot is gone. Or seems to be. No more scabby bumps, and none seem to be forming back. Thank you very much, MTG.

For his weight, he's gone from a 3.75 back up to about a 4. I refuse to ride him still, want him to get enough weight back on to actually look like he could handle it. I know he could now, but hey, I waited 6 years or so to swing a leg over that back, I can wait another month or whatever until he's filled back out a bit.

I'm beginning to accept that I'll probably never cover up those ribs I always see (as he ends up with signs of being too fat every BUT his ribs (gutter back, plump belly, fatty deposits around rump, tail head, elbows, neck, etc)) but I would like to get his rump and his top line filled back out. Right now he's on a grand total of 4 cups of straight oats and 3 cups of sunflower seeds every day, with about 6 flakes of hay total, too.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Diet Change (Again!)

I've taken Siaga off the sweet feed. The horses at the other barn are on whole oats and with an additive of black oil sunflower seeds and/or chia seeds depending on their weight. This is what I'm moving to with Siaga, whole oats and sunflower seeds, with a hoof supplement, as well.

Also, an ode to a new year. Happy New Year, everyone. :)

Resolutions I made last year:

Fit in a size 10 pair of jeans: Check. Made that.
Ride Siaga on the trails by ourselves by the end of summer: Check, made that by mid-spring, and were riding with other people by mid summer (or one other person).

This year:

Fit in size 8 jeans. Working on it. xD
With Siaga, I want to become more comfortable riding bareback.
Master trot and canter.
Start taking dressage lessons.