Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Best. Clinic. EVER!

Image may contain: horse, sky, outdoor and nature

Last spring I saw all kinds of photos popping up on the old Facebook of my friends and their horses doing all kinds of awesome obstacles together. I got insanely jealous because I wanted to do awesome obstacles with my horse. So I inquired and found out that there was a clinician who has a barn not too terribly far from where we live that puts on super fun clinics...the only catch is that they are insanely hard to get into, mostly because they fill up as soon as they are announced. SAD FACE.
So I contacted the clinician and then I sat and waited...and waited...and then forgot about it... and then my friend messaged me that she got me and my husband into one of the clinics! HOORAY!!!!
It was in early October, when it was perfect riding weather since it wasn't super cold yet, but not tee shirt weather either. The kind of weather I LOVE riding in. October is the best most awesome month by far. I contacted the clinician about what I needed to bring. She said bring my horse and the tack I plan on riding him in, and she would take care of the rest. Ummm okay, sounds easy enough for me!
Turns out she has electrical hook ups for those with Living Quarters Trailers (did I mention that we have a living quarters trailer yet? because we now do!) and for those with out living quarters trailers she has an adorable bunk house. She also provided hay and stalls for the horses, and food and beverages for people. This is literally the best clinic ever since all of this, plus two days of ground work/riding are included for $100. We loaded up bright and early for the clinic and when we arrived, she had helpers show us where to put the horses, and then someone helped get our trailer hooked up. It was fantastic. We all met up in her heated shop for introductions.
Everyone had to introduce themselves, plus their horses and why they were at the clinic. The first person that introduced herself said "Hi my name is so and so and my horse is named so and so, and we ONLY do trail riding" the clinician stopped her right there and said "it's not ONLY trail riding. Trail riding can be one of the most difficult 'disciplines' out there if done correctly." I liked her already. The second woman introduced herself "HI, my name is so and so and my horse is so and so. He is a rescue...he was abused..." and then the clinician said something that I thought was going to make the owner cry. "I don't care if the horse was abused. I don't care if he is a rescue. This is a clean slate, that horse needs to learn that you are the alpha. He has gotten away with all kinds of bad behavior because he knows you won't step up to him, and that is why you are at this clinic." I thought the woman was going to start crying and leave. My jaw dropped and in my head I was slow clapping. She kept trying to make excuses for the horse and the clinician just kept cutting her off. Yeah I guess you could say it was rude...but I loved it.
Then it was my turn... "Hi, my name is K.K. and I have a 13 year old OTTB named George. The reason we are here, is because he is an asshole." Everyone started laughing. I also announced that he was a kicker, "so please for the safety of everyone involved, stay back from his hind end...because he is an asshole"
Then we went out and grabbed our trusty steads. We were all given rope halters, 10ft lead ropes and 'carrot sticks'  and went into the out door arena. The clinician followed the Clinton Anderson method. And say what you will about those methods...but they work. We all found our place along the arena fence and then we worked on personal space, and stopping and backing when asked. Now George is good-ish when leading. He needed improvement on stopping when I stop and waiting. So she showed us what she wanted and boom, we all got to work on becoming the alpha. The way she explained it was that in the herd, if the alpha mare wants another horse to back up out of their space, she doesn't stand there saying "can you pretty please with sugar on it back up out of my space? No? okay that's fine just keep coming up to me." The alpha mare gives off a little warning, and then if that doesn't work, a well placed hoof or bite does wonders to get that point across. The stick was what we needed to use to help let that horse know WE were the alpha. Now we weren't instructed to beat the horse senselessly across the nose or face....but a well placed "bump" to the chest showed that horse that you wanted him to stop, then and there. Not 3 seconds from now....but NOW. When we first got into the arena George was acting like a snot nosed teenager. He was being a douche to be honest. When we got to working, and I showed him that I meant business. He was all "wait. What?" And shortly...and I do mean shortly afterwards he was like "Yes ma'am!" It was like I had a new horse on my hands...all in under 10 minutes. The fact that I was showing him that I was the alpha, made him *gasp* respect me. We worked on going forward, and backing and listening skills. It was marvelous. After a while we worked on lunging, and lunging over obstacles. His lunging skills were awesome. Not sure who taught him to lunge, but thank you. You just point the direction you want him to go, and there he goes. Then point the other way and he switches and goes about his business.
Image may contain: horse, tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature
"Im gonna eat this fence to show you how mad I am."

Then we took a short break. The clinician had lunch prepared for us. AWESOME lunch at that. We all chatted about what we learned and then got a little break before taking the horses to the obstacle course.
Bring. It. On. Right away the clinician grabbed a horse and demonstrated the first obstacle. It was a small drop down pit with some logs and rocks in it. The horse just walked right though it. That wasn't very fun or impressive. So she asked for a volunteer horse. Everyone, and I mean everyone in that 20 person group said George. So she came and got him...he was a bit more *ahem* stubborn about going through the pit. And by stubborn I mean full on temper tantrum about not wanting to drop down 6 inches into the pit. He was rearing, and kicking and pulling back. But she kept after him, pressure when he wasn't responding, removed the pressure when he was doing what was asked. It took a good 25 minutes. And a few times she asked why she agreed to use George for a demo. But eventually he got it. And everyone cheered and that I think got a lot of people motivated to get their horses through the obstacles. He finally figured out what she wanted of him, and then he acted like he knew what to do all along. Brat.

George showing that he was a pain in the ass in fornt of all those people/horses
Then she turned us loose into the obstacle course to try our hand at them. I think there were 20ish obstacles. Bridges, tires, wooden platforms, a giant three level 'podium', barrels, hills, boxes with logs, you name it, it was there. George was a bit of an ass for a few, but he really figured things out nicely. His hardest obstacles though, were the jumps. Now, for being the biggest horse there he was having MAJOR difficulty going over the jumps. He is 16.3hh and 14hh ponies were out jumping him. They were embarrassing him to be honest. My husbands 15ish hh horse was the cutest jumper I've ever seen. He would pop up, freeze his position, and then go up and over. SO CUTE! George on the other hand would lift one foot, then slowly drag it over the log or barrel, then he would be stuck straddling it between his front legs, and then look at me for help. then pull his leg back over. With some coaching, and bumping, he figured it out and jumped...horribly over the obstacles. his jumping leaves much to be desired. In fact, I can see why he failed as a steeple chase horse...and maybe that is why his owner had a complete disbursal of all his steeple chase horses and retired from the business. George is just an ugly jumper. There go all my dreams for Rolex. Flying out the window.  But we had a super productive day and I was glowing with how happy I was with everything that we accomplished.
Image may contain: one or more people, horse and outdoor
Like no air between that jump. None. His toes scraped the whole time.
Image may contain: one or more people, horse, outdoor and nature
NOW he is picking up those feet.
Tired ponies.
This old man horse did so good!
So as we were getting ready to tuck our horses in for the night, the clinician told us to get a good night sleep because tomorrow we would be riding our horses...with just a halter on. Ummmm what?!Stay tuned for part two of this story...

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, horse, outdoor and nature
Come on man!! You can do better than that!!
Love this big creep!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I'm gonna try my hardest.

So basically, in the last few years, this blog has become set on the back burner. It sits there, I know its there, but I don't have the ambition to do anything about it. I am going to give it my best shot this year. I have a big year planned for the big grey thoroughbred and I. He doesn't know it yet...
Last year was my best year with the big grey thoroughbred. I didn't start out the year thinking that it would be. Can we be honest here? Yes, I think we can...I was pretty scared that I was done with him. Our first few rides of the year had me in tears. Big sobbing, hysterical, body shaking tears. I got on him in April. DUMB. My riding instructor always told me NEVER ride in April. But I didn't heed her advice and mounted up. DUMB. The ride started out great, and just as I started thinking, "GOD I LOVE THIS HORSE! HE IS THE MOST PERFECT AND MAGICAL HORSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD"... That's when he decided. "You know what? It's time that I must train for the Kentucky Derby! Never mind the fact I am a washed up 13 year old EX racehorse...I MUST TRAIN!" and there I was on a hot, prancing, fire breathing dragon. I hopped off and sure enough, there I was leading a unhandled 2 year old stud colt down the dirt road back to my house. He was prancing sideways, and snorting and screaming his freaking head off and I was in tears, swearing up and down, hating him and hating myself more for letting him get my number like that.
My second attempt was much similar and at that point my husband said "That's it. This horse is out of here. I'm not going to keep around a horse that you are too scared to ride." I was heartbroken, but starting to believe that maybe he was right, and it was time for the big grey thoroughbred to move on. Fast forward a little while, we sent Cash, our beautiful palomino to the trainer. We had been working our asses off on making sure he was going to be sound. He was diagnosed with Navicular. (F WORD!!!!) and we had been dealing with trying to keep him rideable. We had him adjusted, and we had special shoes, and we had injections and we contacted wizards and fairies and unicorns to try and heal him.  And he was sound and looking REALLY good, but he was bucking when we saddled him up. Yes we had some saddle fitting done on him and we got a saddle that fit him really nice. But when my husband threw his foot into the stirrup, we had a bucking bronco on his hand. So him not wanting to get hurt...and me definitely not wanting to get hurt... we shipped him off to our awesome trainer.
Fast forward 3 days after dropping him off "yeah, you guys need to come and get your horse. He is SUPER lame." F WORDS!!! That's nice. So glad that we have a spot booked at a hard to get into trainer for 30 days and the horse lasted 3 days. So we asked if we could swap out horses and bring George. The trainer said game on.
So we swapped out horses. There was a crowd waiting when the big grey thoroughbred showed up. Word got around that a 16.3hh, off track thoroughbred who won almost $400K was showing up that evening, so when we got there were folks standing all around, waiting to get a look at my handsome devil of a horse. And sure enough, fire breathing dragon stepped off the trailer.
We got a call a few days later from the trainer saying that the big grey thoroughbred was a LOT of horse. He couldn't get him to just walk out calmly when they went on group rides. Basically he said that the big grey thoroughbred was an ass. He wasn't sure he was going to be a good trail horse...ever. Heart. Smashed. There went all of my dreams of riding off into the sunset. But wait a second....rewind to the previous year...I did in fact use him as a trail horse... numerous times...and he was a rock star. WTF trainer? WTF. He did admit that the big grey thoroughbred was super athletic, and that he is a horse that needs a job.
A few days later, the trainer called with an update. He said they had started to break him down a bit. he was not walking calm-ish when they went out on group rides. He also said that George had also ripped down a sheet of plywood in his stall because he was bored. Awesome.
When we picked George up after a few weeks I got to try him out and he was a bit 'up' still but he was leaps and bounds better than when I dropped him off.
That weekend we went trail riding and he was fantastical. I had my horse back. HOORAY...We had so many awesome rides and adventures. I need to really write about them. Because they were magical. I only briefly talked about them last year. But Maybe if I do decide to keep up with this blog...I can fill ya in... But this year I am going to try and keep on top of things and keep this place updated. I have so many cool adventures planned.

But until they happen and until I can go back and talk about last years awesome adventures here are ..Pictures.
Image may contain: one or more people, horse, sky, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: one or more people, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature
My old western horse.

Image may contain: one or more people, horse, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature
Best ride with my best horse.
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, horse, outdoor and nature
He is a crappy jumper...

Image may contain: horse, sky, outdoor and nature
We did a thing!!

Image may contain: one or more people, horse, outdoor and nature
Riding in a halter and lead rope in an arena filled with horses. it happened.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Up the Creek Tour....part 3

We awoke that morning with intentions of finding a farrier and getting settled into the next campground. French Creek here we come! Wanna know something else awesome that happened? George managed to throw another shoe in the middle of the night. Yep. His left rear fell off. FUN! This is the best trip ever! He was, at this point...SUPER lame. The poor guy had to stand on hard gravel all night in the corral, with 2 shoes and a buddy that kept picking on him all night for some reason. He was not having any of this Black Hills business.
But whateves! Off we go!
We headed to the next campground and noticed a dude ranch tourist trap that had a sign that said "Farrier on Duty" HECK YES! We pulled in and sure enough they had someone to put some shoes on George. He ended up replacing all but 1 of them on George, and then reset 2 on Duke. So far we had zero luck on the shoes. I felt like a giant ass for all of our shoe troubles. I mean wouldn't you? And since George wasn't pissed off enough.... he ended up kicking the farrier right in the leg. Nice.

We decided that we would just get settled into camp, and then head into Keystone, SD and do some touristy things. We had a sub par dinner and hit up all the shops and saw all the things. Early to bed that night.

We awoke bright and early and saddled up. We had talked to the neighbours from Michigan and they showed us the right trails. They did warn us that there were lots of water crossings. F-WORD. But I figured George needed to figure them out, so off we went.
French creek had the best trails by far. They weren't super challenging and the scenery was AMAZING.
Gross. why would you want to ride here ever.

No fear of bridges anymore.

When we got to the first water crossing George decided that his best plan of attack was "GO AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!" The creeks were too big to leap across, so he figured that if he went fast, the water wouldn't sweep him away. Sure this was fine...but the creeks were super rocky. So my husband had visions of George breaking his legs so he kept yelling at me to hold him back. Easier said than done. At water crossing 20 he figured it out that creeks weren't that scary.
We had our best ride at French Creek. George really came around once he figured it out. I honestly want to go back. Other than beautiful riding....nothing really exciting happened. So I don't have as much to write about...just enjoy these pictures!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Up the creek tour...part 2

Well we were off like a herd of turtles in the am. Headed south to the Black Hills! I couldn't be more excited. Sad to leave the badlands, but ready for new adventures.
Our second campground was the Iron Creek Campgound. This was a primitive campground, surrounded by beauty. Breathtaking beauty that can't be captured in pictures, so I didn't take many...Once we got settled in to camp, and got the horses settled in. We went and met the neighbors, who happened to be from our neighboring state, Minnesota. And as expected...they were typical Minnesota Nice. So happy to be camping near real nice horse folks. Makes living arrangements so much better. They were 4 older couples and were all super, super nice.
We decided to go for a quick evening ride once we had supper. Holy Crap. That is the only 'G' rated phrase I can come up with to explain the trails out there. They were the most intense trails I have ever been on. I wasn't able to take many pictures because I was focused on not dying. Holy. Crap. We went up a natural staircase made of giant boulders at one point. I wish I could explain the sheer terror I had in my being. But George handled it like a champion. I gave him his head, and grabbed my horn, said a prayer and let him carry me up. It was intense but we got up. Once we were at the top we rode for a bit, and climbed some more really sketchy stuff and realized the sun was going down and soon it would be really dark. There is no way I was going DOWN that stuff in pitch black.... So we turned around, said another prayer and headed back down. The area has a lot of downed trees too due to disease and bug infestations so the downed trees and the signs warning that trees could fall at any moment really added to the terror.
But to be honest....it was a rush going on those trails! It was so much fun! If you aren't of the faint of heart, go ride out there! SO MUCH FUN!
Doesn't look so scary...LIES!!! IT WAS TERRIFYING!
THIS was the ride I didn't wear my helmet on...THIS of all rides.

Only one way down I guess...
The next day we woke bright and early, to beat the awful heat. Saddled up and talked to the neighbors who sent us down a trail that wasn't so scary. It wasn't as beautiful, but whateves...a good ride is a good ride right?
Beautiful riding ensued. The weather was still nice and the scenery was beautiful. Then we came to a creek. It was about 2 feet wide, and about 6 inches deep. Clearly George knew more than I did and decided that the best method of crossing said creek was to launch himself up and over the creek via path through a dead ever green tree...Thanks creep! (This was in June...it's currently August and I have a massive scar on my arm as a souvenir)
Things were going well and we had ridden about 5 miles, the temperature was rising, and we were blocked by a bison sunning himself on the trail, so we decided to turn around and head for camp before we roasted to death or were gored to death by a hot pissed off bison.
La lala la la...happily riding down the trail. Wait a second...what is wrong with George? F-WORD!!! his right front shoe fell off!!! We were 4 miles from camp! It was 94 degrees! We were in the middle of no where! He could barely walk! There was no just grabbing a trailer and loading him up right there. I had to hoof it next to him until we could get to the road where the trailer could come pick us up.
Let me tell you, walking a hot, pissed off, LAME thoroughbred through some really rocky stuff is no walk in the park. Never in my life have I wanted to just curl up and die more than I did that day. I had run out of water, my riding boots were not built for hiking, the ground was rough, and hilly, and the worst ever. I just wanted death to come swiftly and take me away. My husband rode on ahead to go get the trailer. Sounds super douche-y to just leave me, but I told him to go. Also fun fact...the trail we were on was not super clearly marked so guess who got lost...yep! ME! I'm honestly not sure what got me back to the road. I was certain that I was actually dead and that vultures were circling above us. I threw up a few times along the trail too. Super fun...heat exhaustion. Just the cherry on the sundae of my adventure. But I found the road and waited for what felt like 27 days and sweet, sweet relief showed up, my husband rolled up with the trailer and a Gatorade which I inhaled like it was air. I felt like a dried sponge that was dropped into water...
Once we got to the campground I hopped into a cold shower and it felt amazing. I on the other hand...did not feel amazing. I felt like death still. As I got out of the shower, there was a knock on the door. One of our neighbors showed up with his wife. They both looked super concerned for my well being. Turns out the man was a medic! what are the odds right? He gave me strict orders to stay in the air conditioned trailer with my feet up for 3 hours. Not to drink water but drink as much Gatorade and Pedialyte as I possibly could. My husband had to leave his dying wife to go get our million dollar certified weed free hay since our horse were on their last flakes. FYI bring your own certified weed free hay to camp grounds that require it. We bought some $12 bales of the worst quality hay I've ever fed my horses. It was almost all just stems. When you pay $3.50 for a bale back home for great quality hay, you can see why it sucks to pay that much for gross hay.
Since we were in a primitive campground we had our trailer hooked up to a generator to run the AC...and the TV so I could watch Dances With Wolves (when in SD watch a movie about SD right?). I was finally starting to feel a bit better when everything shut down...I heard our super loud generator take it's last breath. So I climbed out of bed, opened to door to go figure it out and 3 of the neighbours came rushing over to help get it started again. They were seriously my guardian angels. You guys, I don't know what I would have done with out them. My poor husband was out getting hay and I was all alone, dying in the black hills when these angels showed up, and figured that the generator was low on oil. The got it running again and sent me back to rest.
Later that evening, when I was feeling better my husband and I went to go thank the neigbours again. Seriously they were amazing. Everyone was so happy that I was feeling better and one of the ladies gave me a bottle of wine to put on ice for when I was really feeling better. I mean who does that other than angels?
I slept well that night and knew that we were headed to our next destination in the am...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Up the creek tour. part 1.

After such a horrific spring. Things were looking better. The big grey thoroughbred and I had been getting miles under out belts and things were going good! HOORAY! We were prepping for our big adventure of the year. The Black Hills of South Dakota.
We went to the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City during the early part of the year. On the way home we stopped at a few spots to scout out camping accommodations. I was super excited. The black hills are so beautiful! This was going to be an intense trip. I couldn't wait! We planned and planned and as it ended up, we stayed at campgrounds that had 'Creek' in the name. Sully Creek, Iron Creek, French Creek, and finally Hay Creek, thus being dubbed the Up the Creek Tour.
My husband's grandfather was inducted into the ND Cowboy Hall of fame for modern day ranching in June, so we decided to plan our trip around the ceremony. The ND Cowboy Hall of Fame just so happens to be located in my most favorite place in the world, Medora, North Dakota! I've written before about riding in the Badlands and how beautiful it is. We didn't get as much riding in as I'd hoped. We had a lot of stuff to do with his family and I knew that we would have plenty of riding in the days ahead.

We were able to get a nice ride into town one day for lunch. This was George's redemption at being a creep the last time he tied to a railing at the restaurant in town. The previous year he spent most of the time acting like he had ADHD and insisted on dancing and fidgeting in addition to eating the railing on the deck. This time, he stood tied and acted like a normal horse. Thank the heavens!

I wish we could have spent more time riding out there, but I knew that we would be back for more in a few months. Over Labor day we spend a few days camping and riding with friends. So we were prepping to load up and go to the next destination when as I was stripping the stalls, I noticed a lone horse shoe in the corner. My husband's horse, Duke thew a shoe. Normally, we don't shoe Duke since he has fantastic feet, but since we were going to the Black Hills, we put shoes on all 4 corners of both horses because there is some really rough stuff out there. Everyone said to put shoes on. The thing is, I suck at locking down the farrier. Did I know I was going on a trip that required shoes? Yes. Did I go ahead an lock down a date with our farrier weeks in advance? Nope. Because I am an idiot. Recently our farrier has been so busy but in my stupid little brain, I keep thinking that she will just swing out at the drop of a hat like she has always done in the past. But I dropped the ball and I am the only one to blame. So a friend of mine who just graduated from farrier school said she could come out and tack some shoes on. She had been apprenticing with a great farrier and I trusted that she would do a good job. Her trims are phenomenal and the shoes looked great! So I figured we were good to go.
But when you are on the 'up the creek tour' things are gonna go wrong and wrong they did.
Well F-WORD, we are a billion miles from home and I have a horse with 3 shoes on and we were supposed to head out that afternoon.
Lucky for us, my husband's cousin was working in town and hooked us up with my knight in shining armor farrier. He saved me last year when I needed an emergency set of shoes tacked on Geroge in the Badlands. He is a gosh darn saint of a man. We called him up on a Sunday evening and drove out to his place and he was able to tack the shoe on, reset it and then look at George's feet to make sure they looked good. I also got to meet this sweet little mare...
I would have stolen her if she would have fit in my trailer.
So we thanked my knight in shining armor farrier a billion times and said that we'd probably be calling him when we were back in the area because...my luck sucks. We were off like a herd of turtles.
Back to the camp ground for one more night and we loaded up and left in the morning. Stay tuned for more adventures on the Up the Creek Tour 2016.
I pulled George's hay net in preparation to leave...he grabbed the bale bag and helped himself...creep.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rocky start.

So I said I was back and then I disappeared for 8 months. Because...well I don't know. It's not that I don't have anything to write about because I certainly do. I don't have a real excuse other than being too tired to really write anything. For all intents and purposes I really should be writing more, not that I expect anyone to follow this blog anymore, but as my own personal journal of what I have been up to.
I can honestly say this has been my best year with the big, grey thoroughbred. It didn't start out great. In fact this year was the closest I have ever been to getting rid of him completely. This spring started out horrifically. My first two attempts at riding him in April were heartbreaking. I say heartbreaking because my heart was broken knowing that it was probably best that I find him a new home. He was much too much horse for me and I was starting to believe that I was not the rider I thought I was. I always get nervous riding in the spring. North Dakota winters are cold, and I don't have access to indoor riding so basically Georgous sits at a round bale with his buddies getting fat. He loves it. I love watching him be fat and lazy. But spring comes, and it's time to ride and he is certain that he is in training for the Kentucky Derby.
That first attempt at a ride seemed like it was going well. I rode around the yard and he was nice and relaxed, so I told my husband that I was ready to go down the road. The ride was going well, and he was my same old sweet lazy pony. I thought "hey, maybe this year will be different than last year! Maybe he is growing up and we will have a great year!" no sooner did I finish that thought when he absolutely lost his damn mind. His head was flipped sideways, and he was basically licking his eye ball. He looked like a crazy horse. Like he lost his damn mind. I got freaked out based on the fact he was no longer listening to anything I had to say, and I hopped off. I started walking him in hand hoping that he would calm down. "NOT TODAY" he screamed! Well not screamed because well he is a horse, but he had that look on his stupid horse face. It was like I was flying a kite down the road. I've walked young thoroughbreds at the track that just finished their race and they have been less of a handful than he was at that moment. At this point I was crying. Big, sloppy ugly crying. I walked him half a mile then back home. He was pretty damn proud of himself. I felt like the biggest failure on earth.
The next time I attempted....same thing. Maybe even slightly worse. What happened to my horse? The same horse that went on awesome trail riding adventures with me? The lazy boy who was shocking everyone around us when they found out he was an ex racehorse because of how lazy he was on the trail. I was a failure and I was going to give up horses and riding forever. I was done. I put him away and locked myself in the bathroom and cried knowing that my husband wouldn't let me keep a horse I was too scared to ride. And I knew that I would never be able to ride him. He wasn't the horse for me. It was time to start looking for somewhere for him to go and I hated it. I hated myself. I hated George for not being Piney. I was miserable.
Flash forward a few weeks. We had sent Cash, our hot mess of a horse to the trainer. Cash has Navicular. He had been bucking at the lope last fall so we decided that he would go to the trainer this spring. We booked him a spot at the trainer we've had some great luck with. Prior to him going, we did a few chiropractic treatments with him, had him injected and put on his special shoes. We toted him up to the trainer and felt optimistic after we dropped him off. WELL, the trainer put 3 rides on him and then called my husband to let him know, that he was lame. Super lame. F-WORD!!! We talked to the trainer, and since we had a stall for a few more weeks, the husband and I decided that maybe George should go fill that stall. And fill that stall he did.
After the first ride, the trainer called my husband and said that he was not very optimistic about George ever being a trail horse. He did NOT like him. He really just didn't have anything nice to say about George and told my husband to maybe consider getting rid of him all together and finding something a bit slower. My heart was broken.
A week or so later the trainer called my husband with an update. "We finally got him to walk." apparently George had the need for speed and everyone was having a hell of a time just getting him to walk. In fact, I think they said at one point that George was terrifying because of how fast he was. George was also not a model student. He really made a name for himself at the barn. One day in his stall, he ripped down a sheet of plywood that made up the back wall. He also spent a few hours tied to the hitching post so he could learn some patience.... But they got him to walk calmly on the trail and they were going to keep working on him.
When George was ready to come home. I went to try him out with the trainer. I saddled him up and they sent us out the door on a little trail ride. He was still a bit hot, but he was walking 'calmish' and I was happy. So we brought him home and planned for his first test.... a trail riding weekend in one of my favorite places.

We ended up doing 20ish miles that weekend and other than a few 'melt downs' mostly over crossing bridges he did great. He was going to be a trail horse if it killed me.
That's a good boy!

This bridge tried to eat him the day before.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hello out there! Hello? Hello?

Sooo It's been almost exactly one year since I've posted anything on here. To be honest with you, I didn't really feel like I had anything to say. However it was a big year for me. TONS of things happened. I got a new job. we FINALLY moved into our house. AND the most exciting part was that I actually started riding the big grey thoroughbred.I will try not to put TOO much into this first blog post. Maybe try and spread it out. But lets see what happens here. If you are friends with me on Facebook, most of this will be boring old news, but whateves...

Last March a job opportunity came up that I just had to jump on. I loved my previous job, I mean I'd been there for almost 8 years. But when a job opening at my vet clinic opened up, I applied and got it! I love working at the clinic. It's a relatively busy clinic so it keeps me running around all day long. I'm a receptionist there, so basically I get yelled at, cussed out, peed on, barked at, scratched up, and dragged around and I love it. Each day is filled with highs and lows but I love that every day is different than the last. My coworkers are awesome which I think really helps out with making the days better. I love being at work. I also love being able to bounce questions about my animals off my vets and not have to wait for them to call me back.

Lets see.... earlier this year, I almost got rid of my big, beautiful, grey thoroughbred. I had come to the realization that I was terrified of riding him. I was so fearful that I didn't want to ride any horse. My horsie bestie that lives down the road was awesome and put me on her big red confidence builder a few times and I think that helped me get over my fear a little bit. I still struggled with the thought of getting on Georgous though. I'd always cop out and ride Cash, our palomino, even though I'm really, really not 100% sold on that horse. I mean he's a good horse, but he's got my number. He's naughty, and he costs us money, lots of money, but we don't want to pawn him off on someone else knowing that he has a list of problems. We shoveled a crap ton of money into him this year trying to make sure he stayed sound and finally got the diagnosis of navicular for him. So he still gets his special Epona Shoes, but now he's getting regular chiropractic adjustments as well as shockwave therapy, and now we get him injected. Like I said it would be an easy decision for most people to just dump him at an auction, but we can't do that.
As far as George though, I was battling the decision to let him go. I loved him dearly, but why keep him and feed him only for him to not have a job? My husband and I fought over him quite a bit. I wanted to keep him, but I wasn't riding him. I was too scared to ride him. So this summer, one of my coworkers and I were talking about him. She asked what I did with him and said 'not a whole lot'. So she took him for 2 weeks to put rides on him. It was the best thing for him and for me. She fell in love with him too, so we joke that we share custody on him. She put him through his paces and he did everything wonderfully. She rode him over tarps, she rode him with tarps on him, over things, under things, she trail rode him and even took him to a barrel race. He got last place, but he went, and did fantastic with all the commotion. She was impressed as was I.
What's under there? Oh it's just a thoroughbred..
This ain't no thing for Georgous.
So when I got him back we were getting ready to head out west for our annual trail riding trip in the badlands. My husband wasn't sold on the idea of him coming along. He just really isn't a George fan for whatever reason. I mean I get it, he isn't everyones cup of tea. But he agreed to me taking him out on a trial ride out at the sandhills to see how he did. I gotta admit, it probably tasted pretty bad coming out of my husbands mouth when he said "George did really well today". It was my first real ride on him in years. We did about 5 miles and he was like an old seasoned trail horse. It was amazing, being on a nice loose rein the whole time. The only thing was he was SUPER ouchy on gravel...F-WORD!!! His farrier must have trimmed him a bit short earlier that week, so  I texted her and asked if there was any way that we could throw a set of shoes on him, like yesterday, so that I could bring him out to the badlands...She said she would try...my heart kept sinking every day when we couldn't get shoes on. BUT I got some connections through work, and we had a farrier come out to our campground in the Badlands and tack some shoes on!! HOORAY!
We actually ended up brining all three of the big horses to the badlands. Princess Rainbow Sparkles said at a friend of mine that lives a few miles away. We brought along a spare horse incase one got a flat tire. It's would be so crappy to get all the way out there and have something you cant ride.
We had some amazing rides out in the badlands. George was good. I can't say he was perfect because he wasn't. On our 20 mile ride day, he had a few temper tantrums. He was good though, I'm almost 99% certain that his temper tantrums were a direct result of my opinions of the day. I don't enjoy riding in huge groups. I also don't like blazing trails. I also don't like when people don't listen when they tell me to not ride up behind my horse or you will more than likely get kicked. But he did well.
Oh...OH OH! Guess what we did when we were in the badlands?? Went on a cattle drive!!! Cross that right off the bucket list! George, bless his heart, is terrified of cows. He is super brave about EVERYTHING else, but cattle..Nope. Hates them. Especially calves...The ranch we camped at needed help moving some cattle to a higher pasture and guests were invited to come along. So George and I got to go along. He was so scared the whole time, but he never bolted, or spun and ran home. He just walked at a snails pace and snorted the whole time. Such a good boy! But I don't see him or his city slicker mamma riding the open range rounding up cattle in the future...

"ummm..NOPE! Lets go home"

I could really get into more intricate details of our trip... and I might still do so. But I'm glad that I stuck it out with George.
I've got big plans for him this summer. Here is to hoping that things work out, and that I actually keep ya'll posted on what we get done!

So in the meantime enjoy a few pictures from our adventures!

He looks so freaking derpy in most pictures.
Ex-racehorse is not impressed knowing he's looking down the barrel of a 20 mile day.

We rode into town for dinner one night. He loved it.

First time out in the badlands!

Nearing the end of the roundup...

Who would have imagined George working cattle??

You could see for miles and miles in the Turtle Mountians (Upper Northeast corner of North Dakota)

LOVE this picture! We galloped you guys...GALLOPED! I was on a high until we got to the trailer and he refused to load...