Gilly and I have been doing a lot of work with gates and working with me just moving him around with only my legs. He is doing great at it and I can just turn my body and he will follow that feel. So far we have only been working with walk and trot but it's a start.
These pictures where taken last year and I have none when I was working with him alone on Saturday. But I needed these pictures so you can see how my old round pen gate is. I also was riding in my dressage saddle in these pictures I am riding the western saddle.
We have been opening and closing this gate for two years now and everything has been fine but....
See the bottom of the frame holding the gate, well the weld broke at the bottom corner below the gate pen a few weeks ago. I didn't think anything of it, it still opened and shut but the gate didn't swing open as far. Still we had been through it several times with no problems.
The gate didn't open as far as it is in this picture but Gilly will push it with his shoulder to walk through, we were going into the round pen when the unthinkable happened!
My stirrup caught on the pen area was we walked through because Gilly moved toward it instead of the gate. OH....SHIT!!!! My stirrup is hooked on it and we are pulling the ten foot panel into the round pen behind us! He jumped a little and I do mean a little and curved his body around my leg that was hooked to the gate.......we pulled it in about 4 feet before my foot was released. Gilly continued to turn and face it but when I was free he stopped. I had to sit there for a minute to soak in what just happened!!!
Yea, my horse just drug the round pen several feet and DID NOT lose his mind in the process??? Really???? I leaned forward and gave that big boy a HUGE hug around the neck....he let out a loud long sigh and just stood there.
I got off to put things back in order and shut the gate. Had to go out to get the step stool so I could get back on. I came back through the gate, since there is grass in the round pen he was eating when I came back. I walked to the center of the pen, got up on the stool and said, "Hey Gilly, come over here." He raised his head from the grass and walked over to where I was, walked around the stool, stopped so I could get back on his back. Amazing!!!!
We did about 15 minutes working with some poles, backing, side passing over them then.....yes, I opened the gate from his back and we walked through the gate, this time with no mishaps! I did swing the gate open a little farther with my crop so we had more room. He never batted an eye, he just walked through it like nothing had happened.
Now I ask you, do I have a GREAT horse or what????? What would your horse have done? (yes, my husband will be fixing the gate or maybe I will be getting a new one. one what will stay open better!)
Gilly, OH POKEY!!! you brought me some food??? yum..yum!
Pokey, here let me hold it down here for ya!
Gilly, well, but.... hey....where is it??? I can't find it....lick..lick...lick!!!
Pokey, come on....keep looking....heeheehee (shaking the feed tub) Gilly, I don't see it Pokey......where????
Pokey, (drops tub on ground) snort, snort, heeeheeehawwww!!! Stupid horse.....baahaaaaa....snort...snort!!! You fell for it......heeheeehaawwwww! Gilly, Pokey you are a mean ass....I was really hungry too! (sob sob sob)
What characters these two are! LOL This was caught out the upstairs window this morning before breakfast. That Pokey is a stinker!!
Pokey says hey, what you doing with that camera??? No, no don't look at that horse I am much better looking than he is....he doesn't have a cute pink nose like me and just look at these whiskers, cute huh????
Gilly has been into the burs so much that I finally decided to trim some of his mane off because he will just get into the burs again....so here he is with a trim and a big chunk out of it by his withers that he rubbed off or Pokey chewed off, I am not sure which!
Gilly was giving me the eye for taking his picture, he thought he needed another treat. Not sure if this trim is correct but it still is long enough for me to grab if I need too. Speaking of grabbing mane let me tell you all what Gilly did this evening when we were riding.
After mowing the yard I decided to go for a ride. It was pretty hot today, yes, I said HOT so I didn't ride earlier thought I would wait until it was a little cooler for Gil since he has a lot of winter hair already. So about 4 this afternoon I saddled up and started riding. We just rode around the farm, back the hollow, up on the hill to check the water overflow. Just some easy riding first, then we went to the hay field to do some trot work. I had mowed a track around the field (this field would make a really nice arena but right now it's a hay field, it works)
We did trotting, with me posting sometimes and sometimes working on my sitting trot....this one is still hard for me to do on this lofty moving boy. Of course Pokey had to run along side us by the fence, but he had to add a little buck or two as we went past. Gilly paid not attention except for the turn of an ear toward him, he didn't speed up or spook when Pokey did his shenanigans.
We had been working for awhile and I decided that we could do a canter up along the fence and when I asked him to he decided to do a crow hop, brat, well I am happy to say that he didn't unseat me, I didn't grab the grab strap, I held the reins steady and rode it out, didn't stop, made him continue on at a trot. I should have asked for the canter again but didn't we just trotted and trotted some more. Since he wanted to be a bugger he had to do a lot MORE work, and some side passes too. Wonder if he knows he could have gone to eat his dinner a lot sooner if he had been good and did what I ask him to do. No, of course not but it made me feel good to make him work some more! LOL
This is a huge boost for my confidence and tomorrow we will work on the canter again! I think tomorrow I will have the dressage whip handy, sometimes a little smack on the butt will get him thorough the hip hops. Now here is a question I have; I have been told that lazy horses want to buck when they don't want to do something? I wonder why? That seems to me a lot more work to kick that big ole' butt up in the air than just popping into a canter.
Pokey says one more look at my cuteness; this is me trying to bite a new Himalayan salt/mineral rock. No luck, it's hard as a rock but it sure tastes good!!!!
Above are Lacy's X-Rays of her right front foot from the vet in Lancaster.In the first one (side view) you can see the navicular bone, the small one above the hoof. The vet said it had some deterioration and some small cracks in it. I looked and looked but I don't see them but then I don't know what I am looking at.
Second one is from the back of the foot; what her foot is on is a thick piece of plexi glass so the xrays could pass through. Do click on each one to enlarge. Fascinating photos.
First he watched her trot, which she couldn't do very well and was really limping. Then he did a nerve block on the right front; waited a few minutes and had her trot again. No problem and no limping! So he said it was in her foot not in her shoulder as we had first thought. Well, this isn't good news.
Next he gave her two injections for her arthritis, one in the left knee and one in the coffin joint of her right foot. When he had the needle in the coffin joint he pushed on her skin at the injection site and a very dark fluid appeared in the needle. We asked what it was and he said the fluid in the joint, the reason it was so dark was because it had a lot of blood in it caused by inflammation! Oh, ouch! He said that the fluid should look like Karo syrup. I am not sure if it was Hyaluronic acid or something else he injected her with (so much information that I now can't remember...I will try my best) to help her joints.
It was supposed to help her within a few days, it really didn't. The other thing he said to do was to put shoes...ugh...on her front feet. Egg butt shoes so it would elevate her heels to take some pressure off her coffin joint and to stabilize and support her foot. He said her feet were in really good shape, her trim was excellent and she was balanced....but....she needed to have higher heels to help the navicular area and relieve some pressure.
Kim didn't want to hear that because for three and a half years we both have had barefoot horses and both have done very well. But what is going on inside her foot that we can't see needs support so Kim said she will try the shoes.
Lacy's front feet, a little dirty! yes, they are a little long because they hadn't been trimmed in 6 weeks and it was time for a trim. But still they are in good shape.
Kim called a farrier, Bryan Farcus, (click on his name to read more) he is an excellent farrier and taught at Meredith Manor for years. The chalk marks on Lacy's hoof are the angle of her hoof, the rasp is in the angle he wants her hoof to be to relieve the pressure on the joint.
In this photo her right hoof has been trimmed and the left one hasn't yet. Can you see the difference in the angle? She now has a higher heel and a shorter toe.
Here Bryan is showing how her shoulder is angled, very steep and short, Lacy tends to be short strided in the front. Gilly on the other hand has a very long shoulder and has a very long reach when he trots and canters.
Here is Lacy's new shoe, looks funny to me but this is what she needs. It's aluminum and light weight.
It sticks out in back, I asked if she would step on it with her hind foot and Bryan said she might but he thought she wouldn't.
Putting the finishing touches on the foot. I never had a horse that had to have specialty (corrective) shoes before so this was all new to me too, as it was to Kim.
and.....here are the new shoes on Lacy. She seemed to walk much better still the turning was a little ouchy but now she needs to see the massage therapist next. Having a massage will help work out the kinks of trying to compensate for the pain she was in.
When turned loose Lacy started running did some bucking too, we could tell that there was a slight improvement in her movement. She didn't over reach and hit her shoe either.
I might also add that Bryan explained, showed diagrams and talked to us for a long time. the actual time to put the shoes on wasn't long at all but he was there for three hours. He said he always makes time for new clients to go over everything very thoroughly; Kim had a lot of questions and he answered them all. He really knows his stuff that's for sure!
I talked to Kim today and she said that yesterday she worked Lacy on the lunge line and there was NO limping at all, at the walk, trot and canter. She still seems a little stiff but the gal is coming this week to give her a massage.
This is GREAT!!! Now in a few weeks she will probably be able to ride and that means me and Gilly will have someone to ride with!!!
Happy, happy!!!!! I am really happy that Lacy is feeling better. I have arthritis in my feet, one is worse than the other so I have some idea how she must feel, it hurts.
I will post more later and hopefully have some photos of rides!!! :-)
Yes, I have been missing in action for a long spell. What have I been doing, not much, been pretty lazy or unmotivated to write....a little of both. Fall is here and with it a lot of soggy weather this last week, rained and dreary for four days...ugh, not much to my liking.
But some things have been accomplished since I was last on here. Lacy and Gilly both are much better at trailer loading! And it wasn't because of any clinicians tips or tricks, we just kind of stumbled on it ourselves. My neighbors mare, Lacy, had an appointment at a vet's in Lancaster, Ohio a two and a half hour trip from our house and we needed to get her to load onto the trailer preferably without being drugged, that worked before but I had the feeling it wouldn't work again. So the week before we started working again, with the trailer. Lacy will go in the trailer, stand about 5 seconds and rush out so fast she almost falls over backward. Not good! She would go in stand and seem fine then up would go her head, eyes huge and fly out backward. We had tried all the things all the TV trainers have said to do and it didn't work on her, or Gilly for that matter....but that's another story.
One of us would stand inside the trailer, in front of the chest bar and try to calm her, feed her hay or what ever. After having the rope pulled out of my hands so many times and my hands hurting I thought why not put the 14 foot lead through the Blocker tie ring on the loosest setting? This put a little pressure on the lead as Lacy would rush out and it slowed her down somewhat. When Lacy was asked to come back in the trailer I would just pull the slack out of the rope so she didn't step on it.
Then Kim said I think she may be nervous about the noises the trailer makes. The clanging of the divider, the door squeaking and such. So, we started banging on the door, sides of the trailer, the divider and opening and closing the door. Well after while Lacy would stand inside the trailer longer and longer. Finally she would start eating her hay, sighing and resting one foot. We kept here going in and out of the trailer while we made noise; after hours of this she was standing in there eating and not trying to back out. Do we dare? Should we? We did, shut the door and took her for a ride, got to a place where we could get her out and let her play in an arena. We sit and watched while she visited across the fence with some other horses.
OK, now comes the real test can we get her to go back in the trailer to go home? Yes, we did!!! Applause, applause!!! But now will she load up when it's the critical time.....to head to the vets? Again, yes, she did. So we think that she had some fear issues with noises the trailer made.
View from inside the tack room looking into the trailer. Lacy munching her hay. We have also been leaving the divider tied to one side to give her more room and to feel a little more comfortable in there. Kim also put on a fly mask to keep any dust from getting into her eyes.
We stopped at a rest area for a break and to eat a bit of lunch. Lacy ate her hay and only got a little fussy once but then went back to eating. Kim has such a nice trailer, wish I could get to the horse area from inside my trailer but can't, oh, well, at least I have a trailer now! :-)
We passed this on the way to the vet's office.....PUMPKINS, lots and lots of pumpkins, (click on pictures to see them better).
The reason we went all the way to Lancaster to a vet was because of Lacy's leg problem. The shots for arthritis in her knee and coffin joint didn't help the lameness. We were hoping that this vet could tell Kim what was going on with her.
I will post again later on what his findings were and what is to be done about it. I promise I won't be gone for weeks and weeks!