Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Last weekend brought an interesting discovery.  I still need to prove it again, but my courage is weakened.

Friday, I got Harley out, saddled up dressage.  Warmed up longeline, added some side reins for a touch, then hopped on.  Walk was stiff and dragging.  I quickly sent him out at trot, because I saw he didn't have any trouble moving out on the line.  He trotted decent.  I sent him out canter early on, hoping that would be the final 'loosen up' he needed.  He went out at canter quick, and I blamed it on my tense hesitation.  We both relaxed, he broke gait, so I quickly asked for more canter.  I got enough to be satisfied, so I asked for a trot.  Without warning, he bolted forward, and I had a split second to decide, "I'm not falling off, so unless you throw me off, we're going to slow down together."  I held on with my right hand under the gullet, and my left hand slowly slurking down the inside rein to turn him towards the back of the arena.  "A good corner back there to stop him if he does keep on running."  I was able to turn him yet some more, and we nearly ran into a jump standard.  "Really Harley?!  You've been fine this whole time!"  Rode him out walk, and trot, and when he relaxed and stayed forward, I quit.

Saturday, I saddled him in the western/endurance tack.  Absolutely zero problems.  Warm up longe, hopped on to ride.  Not an ounce of sass.  Walk, trot, canter, all in the same speedyness as the previous day.  Not one ounce of pissy.  Interesting.

Sunday, I saddled him dressage again, and sent him out on the line. After a while, it looked like the saddle slid up over his shoulders.  I straightened it out, tightened up the girth, and sent him out again.  More forward-slippage. 

Not willing to take any sass, I changed saddles.  Again, no problems.  Walk, trot, canter, nada.  Not one bit of bolt/fuss.  A little nervousness at the gusty winds, and the "boogers" he thought were in the trees, but nothing unmanageable.

I'm at a loss, again.  Is it the saddle?  Is it him being a jerk?  Heck, I don't know. 

Back to the western tack that I can hang on in, and he doesn't seem to fuss about until I get more answers.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What is Different, and why I've stopped blogging

Harley went off to a friend's in Louisiana for a month.  It was refreshing.  She was delighted with how he moved, found him lazy behind, suggested he needed work on strengthening his stifles.  When I returned back to pick him up, I found him sensitive, reacting well to my leg and seat, and I cantered him lightly with confidence.

He hasn't bucked.
He hasn't thrown a fit.
He was dragging his left rear toe a bit, but seems to have quit after a nice hoof trim (that was beyond overdue for reasons I don't even understand).

Mo, has been Mo.  After checking my copy of his papers, I realized the sweet old man is 19.  Not 17.  19 freaking years old.  I see no need to force him into anything, so we end up walking around a lot, and trotting a bit, to keep his mind on something.  One afternoon, the neighbor's cows were walking across their pasture.  Mo perked up.  I walked him to their fenceline, when a very large bull approached the herd.  I was focused on a grey calf.  Mo?  He and that bull were having themselves a stare-down.  The bull didn't budge, and Mo would step forward every minute or two, just a step. Finally the bull sighed, took a step back, and wandered off.  The entire herd followed him, and he made certain that not one cow or calf were left behind. 

Harley doesn't spook now when the cows wander down the fenceline.  In fact, he glances at them, and goes back to work.  I've been in the endurance saddle, and the 3ring combo myler bit. 

And when I'm ready to get back in the dressage saddle, I will.  Until then, we're good like we are.

I've burned out on lessons.  And shows.  That one damn show where the barn owner felt it necessary to say "I don't ride well.  My hips aren't centered, and I've messed up my horse in such a way that only "she" can fix him" really pisses me off.  I'd boarded Harley at her place while I traveled for work.  I'd scheduled my life for shows that were at that barn.  Just to have one day he backs off the trailer lame, and then be attacked for "not knowing how to ride".

So if staying at home, in the arena I'm comfortable in, suits us, then great.  Until I feel like going back there, and flipping her the bird in a blue ribbon with pride, screw it.  :) 

Harley seems to like cows anyways.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Longed in side reins
25 minutes

walk trot canter

Mostly good.  One huge hissy fit - he stumbled/tripped/forgot to pick his feet up... something, in canter-left (shortly after the transition).
Landed from the stumble, went bonkers for a few strides running crazily and kicking up, then settled.

Rest of the work was good.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Help me Help TAPS

Hi Everybody!

I haven't been riding much, sadly.  It's been ridiculous hot at my place - no roof, and with a work start time of 630am, there's no way to sneak in a ride before work days.  Also, I've been run training. 
I normally do not ask for stuff like this .. But, August 30, Sept 6, and Sept 13, I’m running 5ks  with the entry fees to support different charities in TX (Victoria Food Bank, Travis Manion 9/11 fund, and Cattan Recovery Outreach).  I’m also fundraising for TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors .  TAPS provides direct support to families who have been impacted by a death in the military regardless of geography or circumstance.  I will be running in memory of my friend’s brother, Alan Dean, who was killed in a truck accident earlier this year. 

Here’s the link if you’re able to donate and help me help TAPS.  Thanks for taking a look at the link.  Share with anyone and everyone, please!




Monday, June 2, 2014

Harley Update

Harley was working back up to full work. 

Then, it began raining.  I'm not fortunate enough to have an all-weather arena, so when it rains hard, and puddles, we are without a safe place to ride/work.  The rain came in heavy storms as well - In about 24 hours, we got nearly 8" of rain on the property.  This delayed any hope of riding.

With rain, and standing water, even with my best efforts, came the mosquitoes.  Yesterday morning, both horses were coated in the little blood-suckers.  I hosed the sweat/mud/dirt off of both of them, and then followed up with strong bug spray.

Unfortunately, again, as if I'm not meant to ride hard this year, Harley apparently was so upset by the mosquitoes, that he cut open the side of his lip/cheek area scratching.

I hosed that off as well, applied some salve, and I'll keep an eye on it for a few days.  This means that when the bugs subside, he will only be working in a halter until the cut heals up.

I'm really starting to think the goals and plans I had for the year will be less than I hoped.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


After the wild bucking fit, I gave Harley another two days off.  Tried another ride - - he twisted about a bit in the longe warmup, then quieted to his normal self.  Hmm. The ride was fantastic.  Stiff, didn't want to bend, but at least he'd move out.  A few bits of short canter, and lots of good trot work.  About 40 minutes.   I stuffed another ride or two in there, longing him over some trot poles, again, good results.  Some lazy "don't wanna pick up the feet" moments, but he didn't flip out when he stepped on and tripped over the poles. 

I reported the update to the vet on 5/9 when I took Romeo in for his annual shots/coggins.  Vet said, "Good.  How much bute is he on?"  Well, 1g twice a day, since you didn't really give us a plan forward.  Decision was made to get him down to 1g "for a few days", then try him some more. 

On 1g of bute, he got one ride.  Things went surprisingly well, again.    Then, some beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, wonderful rain came.  This week has been pleasantly soggy.  We needed the grass watering.

He's off the bute now, and I will get some rides in this weekend. 

Romeo continues to be quiet, most of the time.  He longes like a 2 yo that hasn't had a ride, um, ever.  Bucking wild crazy goofy fits that disappear as soon as I hop on to ride.  Nice, peaceful quiet rides.  Some in the arena, some out in the pasture.  He's due a ride down the road, which I hope to get to soon as well.

The running remains.  I'm still sticking with it, considering a formal name change to Forest Gump. Tomorrow night's plan calls for 2.25 miles straight jogging, no walk breaks.  Whee.  Should be interesting.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Harley, longeline, saddled - HUGE bucks heading right as soon as he went into canter.  Humpity hump hump.  A few times, he kicked out behind, up & out.  He stayed in canter without a lot of motivation on my part, and eventually settled down.  When he stretched his neck long & low, I asked for a trot, which looked even.  Down to walk, changed direction.  One or two times in left-canter, he kicked up & out, but no huge bucking fits. 

Added side reins - he tried to twist his face to the outside heading to the left, but gave walk, trot, canter, both ways, willingly.  No fuss, no bucking, no kicking.

So I got on and rode a little.  Walk both ways good.  Trot both ways, good.  Stiff in bending, but that's normal.  I rode between rising trot and sitting, and noticed early in the ride, it felt like he was "butt-high", but later not as much.  He gave to the contact, bend improved throughout the ride.  One of the direction changes after some sitting trot, I saw what looked like "drag lines", suggesting he was not picking his back feet up all the way.  Not sure if that's a sign of soreness, or laziness.  *sigh* 

I glanced at my watch.  30 minutes.  Do I canter, or not ... I chickened.  Chose to end it there, with some transitions from a connected walk to a long & free walk.  When I did dismount, I noticed a LOT of slobber, licking, and chewing. 

Maybe the bute is helping.
Maybe he self-adjusted something that was out in his back, bucking up a fit.
Maybe he's hiding the pain, and I need to ask for that canter to be sure.

I will call the vet this morning, with the updates, and see what the plan is from here.