Friday, December 25, 2009

A Sign of Things to Come

This is not a great video....but it is a video and a sign of things to come.  It's a new camera that Santa brought and my first attempt at filming, saving on the computer, editing and then saving onto you tube.  So, it's not good but I expect to get in lots of practice for our under saddle days.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's been a while

I wish there was a lot of news to tell but things have been quiet and easy.  I've been working too much and Sammy has had a break in the action.  Natalie Some people have been asking for new pictures but it's a hard thing to do with no one around to help. (perhaps that person needs to come down and help) But I tried very hard today to get pictures of Sammy in motion.  His trot is lovely but his canter is to die for.  Maybe one day I'll really get fancy and figure out how to do video....but don't hold your breath.  So I chased him around, finally made him trot, stopped to take a shot and this is what I get:

Sorry you missed it. It was very nice and'll just have to trust me.  I even had a longe whip after him, cracking and popping and making all kinds of really bothered him.

When do they get past the phase where everything must go in the mouth?  Here's a nice shot for you.....I could have filled up a memory card with these shots alone.

And then why is it that the best conformation shot of the standing out in the field, has his eyes closed?  This is hard work I tell you.

He does have the drop and roll drill down.  They must practice this during recess.

First you pretend to be napping......and look at his cute little white lips.

What? that didn't fool you?

And over he goes.  Never in the grassy field, always in the hot sand.  The majority of the time I'm with Sammy, my view is from his rear end.  I'm ground driving him or giving him butt scratches.  But it's a pretty nice view

Hopefully, it won't be very long until my view has changed perspective and will be between those cute little ears.  Next on our agenda, trying to add some weight to the saddle to see what that means to him.  Stay tuned....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Illustrated Verson

ok - let's see if this helps to get a visual. It is physically impossible for me to be the photographer and the one working Sammy (I value my camera way too much for that) but thought this would help. I worked him today with my saddle instead of the surcingle. He has not tried to drop and roll for several sessions so I thought my saddle might be safe. I ran the long lines through the stirrups which were run up. This put the lines down lower than with the surcingle but he seemed to handle it just fine.

This is where I started from. I tacked him up in the cross-ties and fed the lines through the stirrups, unhooked him then we're off. I'd rather start from here than lead him because if he did decide to drop and roll, I'm already in position to do something about it.

Then it's just a short walk (around the golf cart in the above picture and to the right) to the arena and through the gate.

Today we turned right and went along the fence line. But there is no real pattern or plan, just wherever the mood strikes me. I'm usually aiming for some shade. The days are getting shorter so why isn't it getting any cooler. Temperatures are still in the 90's and it's very unpleasant. Hot and humid, I'm over it!

Then we went in between the jumps that had been set for a gymnastic. It gives us something to aim for and a chute to guide us. It was a bit harder to steer with the lines lower but we adjusted. He had no problem going through these jumps in either direction.

Sometimes he pretends this blue thing is something scary. Today he jumped 2 feet sideways just to be silly but then just continued on.

Then we aimed for the standards with the ground poles between them. He didn't hesitate and walked right over them. He had to step big because there were actually 3 poles on the ground. I was very pleased with him today. The saddle didn't bother him a bit and going around and between the jump standards were no big deal.

Another visual, this is my view when we are doing our thing. Just pretend he's wearing a saddle and bridle.

And since we had to lead him back to his stall right by the mounting block, we took advantage. He was a bit bothered when Remy climbed up on the mounting block with Allison, he's just not ready for THAT dog and pony show yet. But Auntie Sarah gave him some good advice. Doesn't he look like a sweet little boy? This was right before he tried to see if she tasted good.

And this will be my view one day. I was leaning all over his back and aiming between his ears. He was a very good boy and we were done.

Look how long his tail has gotten! It's almost not even a baby's tail anymore. We're taking it slow but progress is being made.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're still here

I haven't posted for a while but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy. I like to post pictures of our journey but have come to the conclusion that it's very hard to take pictures while you are actually doing the work. It really helps to have an assistant....unpaid of course. So, now you'll be subjected to a lot of blah, blah, blah and only a few pictures.

Sammy has posed a few challenges lately along with some help from Remy. I don't know how this happened (well, maybe I do and it was my fault but I'm in denial) but Sammy decided that rolling in the arena was the best way to scratch those itches. And we all KNOW how Sammy loves to be scratched. So one day, down he went, surcingle and all, in the middle of our ground driving. Now, I know it was bad, but he caught me completely off guard and all I could do was laugh and keep him from getting tangled in the long lines. But while I was laughing, I was also thinking, uhoh, what if he decides to make this a habit.....nah. A week went by and out we go again, and we hadn't made it through the gate before he was down for a roll. Ooops. His saving grace was that he wasn't doing it as a disobedience, it just felt good. He got right up and went to work like a good boy, no complaining. But now this had to end. I just needed to find a way to explain it to him that it was not out comes the weapon. Armed with a longe whip off we go, I was ready for him....or not. I left his head, to step behind him and before I could pick up the lines, he was down. Sammy 3, me 0. Next up, I recruited a helper. Anne stood at his head while I got situated with the lines and whip outside the arena and in we went. He was a very good boy for about 10 min and then, he made his attempt.....I caught him 1/2 way down (making an horrible whip cracking sound in the process) and up he went and we continued on as if nothing had happened. And he hasn't tried it since. So, even though Sammy was ahead in points, I may have won the game.....til next time. I am staying ever vigilante.

The next challenge has been Remy trying very hard to help. The sight of the ends of the lines dragging on the ground behind me was just too much for him. Sammy and I were walking along and all of a sudden, I feel a tug from behind. I yell at Remy, try to shoo him away but back he comes for more. I took my eyes off Sammy (for just a second, I swear) and before I know it, he's turned completely around with the lines in his mouth. So there I stood, both of them looking at me with each end of the lines in their mouths as if to say...."what? what'd we do?" Thankfully Sammy is a very good boy, I took the lines from his mouth, scared Remy away and off we went again. I'm not very experienced at this ground driving thing but luckily, my mistakes have been forgiven. He is a testament to the wonderful temperament provided by Escapade and Lily.

But now, hopefully those puppy days are behind us. Remy is walking along in front of or beside me as I ground drive Sammy. He is our guard dog. Here he is waiting for me to get Sammy from his pasture. He's getting to be a big boy.
And Sammy comes to meet me like always.
And this face!!! Oh my.
Today, we did serpentine loops in a pasture (not the clay/sand temptation of the arena but a bigger temptation of lots of grass to eat) I'm able to use much less rein pressure to get the turns and I'm learning to use the outside rein so we don't just turn in circles. This ground driving stuff may be as much for me as for Sammy. When we were done, I lead him up to the permanent mounting block and Bernandette (a wee tiny thing) leaned over his back from way high up there. He almost yawned....we're getting closer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Celebration of a Life

Many of you already know that I lost Lily, Sammy's mom a little over a week ago. If you are a horse person, you know that if you are very lucky, you will have a horse that is so special to you they are like a dream come true. You understand them completely and they sure seem to understand you. Lily was that horse for me. Those of you there in the beginning were sick of me saying how if I could have special ordered a horse for myself she would have filled that order. She was full of personality and opinions but she touched me to the bone. Riding was fun again and I finally had that special horse all for myself. We went to the beach, we went trail riding and she let me start her over fences. She had never had an English saddle on when I got her but I think she thought it was a much better accessory than a big old western saddle. She preferred to think of herself as elegant.
She enjoyed her time at our first barn....good hay

Lots of grass and clover......

Proof that I did ride at one time.

And she would put up with just about anything if there was something in it for her.

And then we took her to UF to find the source of her hind end lameness. She was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in both stifles with the left one being the most severe. I was devastated. My wonderful riding horse would not hold up to much riding anymore. Luckily, we were by then boarding at a facility where I was encouraged to breed her. Linda and Malcolm had a lot of experience breeding and raising young ones otherwise I never would have attempted such a thing. And then came the hunt for a stallion. After much debate and searching, we met Escapade and fell in love both with his looks and his temperament. We managed to get her pregnant on the first try by going through the drive-thru at Peterson-Smith in Ocala. I wasn't sure how she would take to being a mother, she had little tolerance for other horses and needed to be in control. But the minute Sammy was born, she had found her true calling. She was a wonderful mother.

She didn't feel the need to chase after him for very long but those first few weeks, she didn't let him out of her sight. We weaned him fairly early because he was on stall rest due to surgery to remove a bone chip in his sesamoid bone. But that was harder on me than on them. She had raised him to be confident and independant.

She loved visiting with him on occasion and always recognized her boy and made it clear he was allowed more liberties than she would have given to any other member of the herd.

When Sammy and Vantage got to be a little to sure of themselves and obnoxious, Sammy went back out with Lily. She was in heaven. She put him in his place but still allowed him to pester her until she couldn't take it anymore. This is how she looked just last month. She did not look much different than the day I bought her. She regained her figure much easier that I did after having my kids.

Here they are together. This is how I will remember her always. Side by side with Sammy, keeping watch over us both. I'm sure that some day, I'll look and find her shadow coming along for the ride.
Thank you to everyone who have sent cards, left voice messages and emails. I have read and listened to them all but really don't know how to respond. She was that special horse for me. But I am very lucky to have her son who is so much like her in personality. I know I am lucky, but that does not make me miss her less. All I can say is she was loved.

Lara Hurley left me this on Facebook:

If you bury him in this spot,
the secret of which you must already have,
he will come to you when you call;
come to you over the far, dim pastures of death.

And though you ride other living horses through life,
they shall not shy at him, nor resent his coming.
For he is yours, and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass
bent by his footfall,
who hear no nicker pitched too fine for insensitive ears.
People who may never really love a horse.

Smile at them then, for you shall know something
that is hidden from them
and which is well worth the knowing
The one place to bury a horse is in the heart of his master.

And that is where you will find Lily.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Life without a round pen

There is not a round pen at our new home so there is definitely going to be some adjustments to be made. I thought maybe lunging would be better than having the 2 reins today and decided it was time for him to work with the saddle on. Sarah was my guest photographer today. Don't get used to seeing me in so many pictures.......can't say I like it much. I don't know if it is the saddle or the angle (Sarah is shorter than me) but oh my, he looks huge here. It gives me hope that even if he's the perfect height (15'3-16h), he should take up my leg just fine!

He had heard that his Wisconsin cousins have been making fun of his poor excuse for a buck. Um, I think he has found the up button since we moved.

Oh my, we missed a shot of his front end way off the ground too, but this should give you an idea. Never mind about needing an action shot, feet on the ground again please Sammy.

Ah, that's much better. Let's just pretend we're in the round pen, ok?

Saddle, only a lunge line and the temperature was only in the 80's this afternoon, thanks to a thunderstorm that came through earlier. He definitely was feeling pretty good.

But, we successfully accomplished a pretty walk and trot a few times when asked and that was all I was hoping for.

All in all, I'd say he was pretty pleased with himself.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Playtime is over

Allison was my guest photographer today. It's very hard to do the work and take the pictures at the same time. So it was time to test out Sammy's training wheels in the riding arena at their new home. It's such nice arena.....and it's got jumps!!!! Sammy was VERY disturbed by the strange furniture in the playpen as you can see.

This is Sammy excited by the jumps. I guess once you've been herding cows, jumps aren't a big deal.

He was oh so disturbed.

oooh. he likes the colorful one.

The flowery one didn't raise much interest.

At least there was some shade somewhere.....I hate the summer and the heat and the humidity and the bugs and the snakes......etc
Allison did a most excellent job on this picture. Perfect placing for the jump standard if you ask me.

And we were out of there. Not bad for our first look at the jumps .

Poor Remy says it's very tough being a barn dog. He needs his air conditioning. Luckily he has discovered that the pond is a nice place to cool off......until he needs to be a bit cleaner before getting in the car.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sammy and Lily have new digs

Sometimes, it is time to move on. It was one of those mixed emotions sort of day. Sad to be leaving a farm we had thought of as home but excited to be moving into a barn that is a true hunter/jumper facility......but on a smaller scale than a big show barn.
First we loaded up Lily and Sammy and the majority of our do we accumulate so much stuff anyway? Sammy had to look back to make sure I was coming.

But then we arrived a short trip later at what we hope we be their new home for a long time.

Sammy and Lily moved right in and Sammy has already found the hanging hose to play with and loved the ability to visit with passers-by.

He seemed to settle right in and Lily was right behind him so they have each other for comfort. Lily was not wanting her picture taken in her stall.....something about the bad lighting for a glamour shot.

We got them settled in and then went back for Spenser and the jump poles....yes we actually have some. And then Spenser was on the road and it was official, we had left Johnson Farm completely.

Spenser seems to like his new abode also.

Here is the riding's an acre in size. This will be a true novelty and luxury for us, and a big reason for our move.

There is a lane dividing 2 sets of pastures

And a we feel more at home.

Sammy thought I should please just let him go....but I thought it would be nice if Lily had actually made it through the gate too.

And then they were off.

I've never seen Sammy quite so....elevated I think would be a good word. Natalie - you would have been astonished at the height he cleared! I couldn't even get a picture of it because my jaw was hanging open.

But all is well. they calmed down and Lily settled right in to her edging routine. Why does she like the edges of a pasture more than the middle?

So the move had been made, the horses have had a night to settle in and we'll see what today brings...........