Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to the real world and real work!

Ignore the funny looking haircut - we are in the middle of teaching him to have his mane pulled, plus it likes to fall on both sides. I swear I'll have him looking normal eventually!

So, my very large son is at boarding school, AKA the trainer's, and is learning to work hard for a living (I hear he actually sweated today) and give to the bit and that he has to lead quietly for people who are not me. I am surprised to hear he is being a shit about the latter, but as my trainer says, she has seen him lead quietly for me so she KNOWS this is b.s. and she is doing all the same things I would to correct it.

I do remind myself that I have ridden lots of four year olds who still have their moments, under saddle and on the ground, and a little misbehavior is normal - it's just that this horse has had so little misbehavior that I am the one who is spoiled. I think of him as an old broke 12 year old and am terribly disappointed when he acts his age in any way. I am like that parent who has fits when their child gets a B+ instead of an A. ;-)

I am going to head out tomorrow and work him myself and see if he really is playing a game or if he's got a bad case of four-year-old-stallion spring fever. My trainer has trained and shown many stallions, so I trust her judgment. I know there are those who will be positively gleeful if he ends up getting cut and I'll tell you now - I don't care one way or the other. I'm not obsessed with the idea of this horse staying a stallion and if my trainer says to cut him, we'll cut him. If she says his behavior is normal and can be fixed, we'll work through it. She's the pro and her opinion is part of what I'm paying her for.

Meanwhile, the Big Gold Yearling, now a Big Gold Two Year Old, is being fitted up for sale at a friend's barn. I don't have time for two greenies and I feel like I've done my job in his life (raising him up from orphan-hood) and it is time for him to move on. My dressage rider friend drools over his short-backed build and beautiful shoulder and we both feel that his niche will be dressage/jumping. He is quiet enough to make a great amateur eventer - nothing spooks this guy. I will have pics as soon as he's completely shed out and we've convinced him that clipping his ears out will not kill him. I am looking for a home with someone who won't push him too young - he is 15.3 at 25 months and I think I can safely say he'll finish out around 16.2 so he definitely needs to finish growing before he is asked to carry weight. Fortunately, those people are more easily found in the sport horse world and he's the type to appeal to them.

Winter's finally over and my Crabby Old Bat and Thai, the old TB broodmare, are coming home soon to share a large pasture. Belle found herself a job - my friend who has boarded her this winter asked to keep her for the summer as she's proving to be a stabilizing influence on a more spirited mare, so she will stay where she is for now.

Now that I am done with the BIG mustang project (see the other blog!) I can get back to the SMALL mustang project. It should be warm enough soon to give baths and that is a big part of progressing with the two I've been working with. They are just too yucky with Washington state mud on their underbellies to clean it off without soap and water (they do not care for currying there, and currying isn't enough to do the job anyway), so I got them both longeing nicely and then couldn't move forward to carrying tack til they got all the way clean. I also need to rig up a high line in the arena to teach the scared one to tie so I'm going to try to get to that this week.

I have also started working with my friend's very sweet red dun overo stallion (he's been mentioned here before) again. I rode him for the first time this year last week and he was just perfect. As I've noted before, he's Sonny Dee Bar bred and while I just hated those horses 15 years ago, now I sing their praises. They don't go fast, but BOY are they safe and comfy. This guy makes the VLC look like a hot potato. I've also been doing ground work with my other friend's ex-stallion and he's learning to long-line beautifully and to wear a bit. He does not like the bit and does need more work on lowering his head for it - he is no fool and knows that despite only being about 15.1, he's still way taller than me when he puts his head up. I have been busy trying to convince him that the whole process is easier on both of us when he lowers his head. Note to self, buy some baby carrots. (And yes, I am grateful that the 16.2 one never went through a hard to bridle phase!)

So that's my update. I may hit some schooling shows on a rescued POA this year and am toying with fitting Thai up for the SAFE show if I can squeeze her into the work schedule and don't get too lazy about having to actually, you know, go out to the pasture and drag her in. (I confess! I'm SO much better about riding horses that are in stalls or paddocks near the barn! I know I'm not the only one...fess up!) I'd like to do it because I always promote the idea of retraining broodmares and now I have a completely sound 24 year old who could make a perfect example! I've ridden her once and she was so good. She is still out at Karen V's awaiting a ride home.

How are the rest of you doing? Got something to show this year? Still working? Still deciding if you are ready to take that step? Who has a new rescue they are working on?

For those of you are looking for your serious trail horse and don't have one lined up, I have to recommend Whiskey, who's a SAFE rescue. She has been in a foster home that has been using her for mountain trail rides and packing and it is TOTALLY her niche. She is super happy on the trails and not at all spooky. She is fit and ready to go and if you're in the Seattle or Portland area, you should definitely consider her! I have ALWAYS liked this mare and it is so cool to see her find her true calling thanks to her excellent foster home. It will be even cooler if she finds a permanent home. She has been on the kill buyer's lot twice and I want to know that she never has to fear that again.


Tansy said...

I feel the need to yell *FIRST*

Tansy said...

Otherwise, Congratulate the VLC for me on his learning and tell him I sympathize... I wanted to go riding today but had to go get a job instead... It's a hard life.

Sounds like you're doing a great job, keep it up!

cj said...

Lovely to get a VLC update, and, I must say, he looks beautiful. I adore how much ground he's standing over while still having solid bone in his legs!

Is it a terror to write about abusive trainers and your horse being out for training on the same day? (I'm guessing you'll blog soon about how you selected a good one for the VLC?)

(And gosh, doesn't Whiskey look like a gem!)

Deer Run Stables said...

VLC is looking great! Mane notwithstanding, of course. ;-) I can sympathize on that front, though; my parents' 4 year old Friesian cross is possibly the only Friesian cross in existence that didn't inherit the awesome mane and tail. I look at the mane, and think how much nicer it would look pulled, and then I ask myself if I really want to tackle this project, and end up saying... erm, no. Not so much.

Now, Fugly, I'm going to shamelessly use your blog for promoting the first of my newly-retrained ex-broodmares, while innocently pretending that I'm just answering your question about how things are going with my horses.

This is SJ Capriole, my youngest ex-broodmare. The video shows her doing arena work, moving cows (amazingly, this was her first contact with cows-- I think she did a stellar job!), and, yes, Parelli groundwork.

VideoSo, anyway... please, somebody buy my horse. :-) And I hope everyone else is getting a chance to ride this spring, and making great progress with their horses.

amarygma said...

My bucking Doopy's getting his first chiro adjustment next week, and then he's going to go into training himself, I'm buying him 30 days refreshment. Then a month or so financial recovery for me, and then more lessons for me (besides the ones included in training).

Starbuck said...

I'm going to repeat something that's already been said, but your boy looks wonderful. He's just gorgeous, and has a really beautiful face. Keep updating! I love to hear about your projects :)

SillyPony said...

I've been craving an update! VLC looks lovely and I'm glad to hear he's doing well. My 9 year old forgets his manners sometimes. We're working on it.

I'm getting ready for my first show with my new guy this Sunday! It'll be his first pleasure show and first time off the farm since I brought him home in September. I have to work a lot this week so I feel very anxious about the show. My trainer is riding him this week and will be with me at the show.

If you want more details, you can read them HERE ON MY BLOG.


HorseCrazy23 said...

The VLC looks great! His haircut is funny! anyways, If I could take Whiskey home, I would! she looks lieka total gem!

OutRiding01 said...

Woohoo, an update! Wish I had the time and money for a 2 year old, but unfortunately I don't. Sounds like he won't have too much of an issue finding a good home though.
I'm finally getting back in the show ring this year after a few years off for school (and deranged riding teams). A TB mare at a local stable is due to foal next week and once her baby is weaned in the fall I'll be getting her back in shape and into the jumper ring. With any luck she'll be ready for HITS Ocala next year because I sure do miss it.... She's a real sweetheart with a big motor and somewhat level head that will hopefully get a little more level with training. And even if it doesn't, you won't hear me complaining! One of my students is also ready to start showing so we're going to a local one day show at the end of May. She's been working hard so hopefully it will pay off. If she doesn't get too nervous or second guess herself she should do well. Her horse is a tank of a QH but is a good boy and a beautiful mover when she works up the nerve to ask him to actually pick his head up and go forward. We're getting there though!

Drillrider said...

I'm working with a 13 year old pushy mustang mare. She is doing fairly well, but for some unknown reason WILL NOT lounge to the right?

On the ground she tries to keep you on her left side, but will let you on her right side with effort.

I have worked on leading her from the right side and getting her to move away from me on the right side. My hubby helped by leading her around the circle and then eventually letting go of the rope and walking beside her and she will continue, but not by herself.

I've only worked with her twice so far, but does anyone have any ideas on other things I might try? I've never had this issue before!

Sagebrusheq said...

His mane falls on both sides of his neck? Oh my word! Whatever is a woman to do?

All's well here. I rode most of the winter hauling rails around the property on my shoulder. It a slow way to run fence but better than sitting around wishing it was summer. Now the grass is growing so I still can't use my truck in the fields. So it goes on slowly. We had a brief warm spell when it got into the high 70's but it's cooled down again- nice working weather. I still need a hundred or so more rails to finish the paddock I'm working on so I'm heading into the woods today as soon as the horses make their way back the house. They don't have much use for me anymore since I stopped throwing hay a couple of weeks ago, but they come home for water. There's a creek but they prefer the stock tank- same water though- maybe it's the oats.

Glad to hear you're in the saddle again.

mugwump said...

He's looking good, congratulations on finding a trainer you're comfortable with. Sounds like you have more horses to ride than ever.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Well, I have more horses than ever to do groundwork with...only a couple are ready to hop on and go. Unfortunately, what I REALLY have to attack is teaching the mustangs to pick up their feet and I am admittedly procrastinating. I like teaching babies to pick up their feet, not thousand-pound spooky adults...

The mustangs were surprisingly good on their first day back to work. Silly Mustang didn't try to run me over once (this is progress!) although he did practically sit down because he saw a garbage can. Those'll eat mustangs, you know! But this was the first time EVER that he wanted my attention and reached his nose out for me instead of avoiding me. For him, that's a huge milestone - this is the one that has spent two months turning his head away from the halter and just giving me the "PLEASE don't bother me. PLEASE" body language. I disappear for a week and now he wants attention. Sheesh. Typical male... :-)

Karen V said...

I'm going to start Squirrel on barrel. I feel like I'm a step ahead though, because she's already ranch broke. I want to see if she shows any prowess and if she absolutely hates it or doesn't progress, she'll be a trail horse, which she is AWESOME at, by the way! I would also enjoy very much going up to Bonina Ranch and see what she can do on cows. THAT would be fun!

I would like to get Mike's mare ridden more consistently so she isn't such a stinker when he has the rare wild hair to ride. I think she'd do well in Western Pleasure classes.

Juli said...

Merlin the monster and I are now working with a great trainer who is based out of Palm Beach (I think..somewhere in south florida anyway). She comes up to my neck of the woods once a month, and we are hauling in to take a lesson. She's awesome, and in just a short amount of time has helped me to teach Merlin to pay attention, and we are doing well at improving his balance and movement. Currently, he's still built downhill, so there is only so much we can do, but it is working.

We have reverted to ground work only for this month, and we'll see if we go back under saddle next month. I think it depends on how he's moving and carrying himself. I'm really not in that big of a hurry anyway, he's only 3.5 right now. It would be nice to get back to riding again.

I ended up putting my older horse down about a month ago. He was a high stress kind of guy who was going blind from a congenital eye disease, and wasn't handling it well. He was panicking at everything, and I made the decision to have it done before he hurt me or himself. Alpine was my first horse, and he was only 15. It seems such a waste, because he really was a great horse.

That's it for the updates from my neck of the woods.

Your VLC looks great by the way. He has a beautiful head, and from what I can see, he's nicely built. I kind of like the scraggly mane....

Drillrider said...

Juli: Congrats on doing the right thing, but so sad about your loss! I've been there and it hurts like HELL to have to make that decision!

Kathryn said...

I think it's stupid that it's such a big deal whether you geld him or not. That's the whole point of responsible breeding ... if the young animal doesn't develop, you alter it and still have a very nice pet.

I bought a doberman puppy that I planned to do AKC shows with, IF she developed to be competitive (bred to be a show dog). Well, she got to be 1 1/2 and her overbite didn't go away (that's a DQ from the dobie breed standard). So I had her fixed and have a fabulous companion that I love to death. Plus, she is smart enough for obedience or agility, if I want to show her in *something*. I was a little disappointed that we couldn't do the breed shows, but also relieved because she didn't have to ever wear diapers again ...

That's the point. You don't know for sure how much ability a young animal has, or exactly how it will develop. So you have to let it grow.

Anyway, I think the path you're taking with the VLC is smart and I think it's stupid *anyone* cares whether you end up gelding him or not.

PS: he is a good lookin' boy.

Redsmom said...

I think the VLC is beautiful. I love his build and his face.

I have to disagree with you as to one Sonny Dee Bar horse - my Red gelding. He's a ***&^&*ing ***&&^%^&%&er. LOL. Good luck.

Heather said...

I also have a "two-sided mane" horse. He has naturally wavy hair and tons of it - he could give hair transplants to 4 other horses and still have a nice mane.

I have given up on ever getting the mane to live happily on one side of his neck full time. (It's even LONG - it's not quarter horse cut, that's how bad it is. ) So most of the time, I just live with a horse with two manes.

However, when we show/do drill competitions, I use the following recipe to get his mane to lay flat for the weekend:

-Wash with shampoo of choice
-Apply just enough leave-in conditioner to "condition" the mane, but not so much that it stays sticky and attracts dirt.
-Apply a healthy dousing of Mane&Tail detangler. (Or the detangler of your choice)
-Apply a healthy dousing of Vetrolin Shine

I use my hands to thoroughly mix the product into his mane, make sure the mane is all hanging on the correct side, then I let it dry. When it's dry enough to brush, but not completely dry, I brush it down. Then, when it's dry, I brush it again.

All the hair product makes the mane just heavy enough to lie down properly, but that particular combination of products dries without being sticky and leaves the mane looking flowy and natural looking.

Yes, I do spend more time on my horse's hair than my own. He also owns way more hair product than I do. I'm a "wash and wear" kinda girl. My gelding, on the other hand, is a total Diva....

Cut-N-Jump said...

I haven't posted here in some time...

We got on our 3 y/o filly yesterday, she was awesome! Then we longed and tacked up the colt. What a sissyboy he turned out to be!

Bucking and grunting and hopping up and down into those four point landings that jar every bone in your body if you are on them. Lap after lap, bucking and grunting and making quite the show of it.

Then I brought out the Arab stallion for his ride. He had watched the young'un so he tried the same bucking grunting display. He still had to work, but he was doin' his best to show off for the mares. I doubted getting on him, but he did well enough. We even NAILED our canter departs, ON the correct leads and with little protest from him. I think he crowhopped 4 times total. Woot! It was a good day afterall.

Cut-N-Jump said...

As for VLC's hair don't, don't worry about it. Let it grow out, braid it to one side or the other and call it good. Or roach it and start over.

JR won't let me do such evil things to his precious filly whose mane is horrid looking and unrully as ever. Part of it falls on one side, part on the other and then there are the places she rubbed out on the fence... Her forelock finally grew back after she rubbed that completely off and now has a nice 'curl' to it. The only thing missing is the Aqua Net.

Denali said...

I have followed your blog, but I just needed to say that your colt is BEAUTIFUL!! I need to remind myself sometimes that my horse (who is an OTTB) has only just turned 5.!

Serendipity said...

Wow, the VLC looks good. I always thought his face looked dopey in your icon but it looks nice and refined in this pic.

Will you still be able to show AQHA if you end up snipping him?

Denali said...

Also, I wanted to say that my rescue (aka, SHE wouldn't let me leave her her at the auction, I'm glad I didn't) is at a trainers near Seattle who has me come out and works with both of us. It's the best of both worlds. Denali was right off the track (3 weeks I later found out) when I bought her at the auction. After almost a year of ground work and light riding yesterday was her first ride working at transitions (walk/trot, trot/walk) and stopping (stopping has been KEY)She made my day. I didn't want to go to the barn, but there is nothing like the feeling of yelling for her and seeing her come running like a bat out of hell to me.

icepony said...

I'll cross-post from the message board...

Okay, I'm a forty-something, suddenly timid re-rider. I've been struggling with my gelding, whom I got as a rescue last year; he's an Anglo-Arab and quite full of himself. He's very high-energy, and I get nervous and tight on him, and he gets higher and higher from it.

So I got a new job, a really GOOD job, and for the first time in nine months actually have time to go deal with the problems I've created.

On a whim, I grabbed my old Heiser Highback western saddle out of the shed. I just wanted to see if it would fit him, ya know? Figured he'd look awfully silly, but what the heck.

Saddle fit just fine, so I took him into the indoor arena to lunge him and see what kind of a reaction I'd get. He was pretty energetic, but kept appropriate numbers of feet on the ground at all times. I was just debating getting on him (always a big debate on my part) when the BO strolled in. She offered to climb on board, so I said sure. Anything to put off getting on Mr. Dynamite. So far, we're following the wimpy pattern that I've been setting since last summer, right?

BO worked him for about 10 minutes, got off, and handed him to me. I climbed up, and away we went. HE. WAS. AWESOME. Somehow I think watching her ride him, then getting on myself with that picture still in my head, made me ride him very differently than usual. She keeps his feet moving all the time, whereas I expect him to stand and walk very quietly (like my old, well-trained show horses, lol) BO left to do chores, and I kept right on riding. I didn't want to get off, and that's a FIRST! I was soooo excited, and he was really a good boy. For grins, we even tried neck reining, which he's obviously clueless about, but he got the gist of the idea off body and leg, so I was able to ride him on the buckle most of the time. On the buckle! I didn't think that was possible!

So we go back and untack, and here comes BO again. And she says...."it's a full moon tonight, wanna go for a ride?" Now, mind you, I don't ride outside of the arena, I don't ride at night, and I'm a major wuss. My mouth opened to decline and the next thing I knew, I'd said yes!

So we tack up her powderkeg of an Arab (whom I get along with really well for some reason) for me, and her endurance horse, and we take off. I didn't realize that her idea of a "ride out" involved tons of trotting, and also frequent cantering. Outside. In the dark. EEEEK!

Just as we're as far away from the barn as we could get in the fields, her cell rings; it's a guy who's bringing in 6 horses to overnight, and he's 5 miles away. So we haul ASS through the fields, laughing like hyenas, trying to beat the truck back to the ranch! The whole time I'm thinking...I sure hope this horse sees better in the dark, 'cuz I literally can't see shit - full cloud cover really defeats the whole full moon thing! I'm also thinking this kind of riding might land me on the Fugly website, lol, but I guess the horses are used to it, and they were both very good.

1. I am sooooo out of riding shape, and will be very sore tomorrow.
2. There is a good chance that I may yet "click" with my horse, and learn to enjoy him for who he is, not for who I think he should be.
3. It's not so bad riding "out", at night. Maybe I'll even do it in the daytime soon.
4. It will take several days to wipe the shit-eating grin off my face!

moosefied said...

Icepony, I used to ride under the full moon a lot when I had my trail horse. I LOVED it. I would really love to get to do that again. What a great anecdote you wrote. I hope you and your horse keep getting better together.

I do think most horses see better at night than people do.

Capilet said...

I find it funny you have two yellow ones working their way up!
We too have two yellow rescue horses--one dun, one buckskin. The Moo-Mare, Cayenne, is 8 this year and still green under saddle, and has just now started cantering with a rider. 1400lbs of thundering yellow draft cross is quite the feeling let me tell you!
The other yellow horse is a 17 year old AQHA gelding in the middle of being re-broke. Any suggestions on training the old school reiner backward run and pencil rolling out of a horse? We're currently doing basic dressage and moving slowly.
Can't wait to see pictures of the yellow 2 year old!

Shadow Rider said...

I think the VLC looks great, I'd love to see him in the hunter ring.

I have a 4 year old Morgan who has been under saddle since last fall, and is currently at my friend's horsey Boot Camp for schooling and fun. (she rides 4-5 times a week, and takes them cross country)

I have a 6 year old Clyde gelding, who is finally picking enough weight up to start work again. All the advice I got from Draft folks, vets, etc, you know what worked? Senior feed with beet pulp.

and I have my auction buy from last year, my 2 year old, freshly gelded MFT who is ready for some ground work, and maybe driving.

So only 3 projects right now.

LeadbyExample said...

VLC? Think a four year old that has already been bred should not be called a colt but instead should be called a Stallion. Guess VLC does soud better then VLS but is misleading. And kinda sounds like you got him from a mix of byb and crazy color breeder(the one's that your always talking about on FHotD) Neither his sire or dam has done anything but reproduce oh and theyr'e selling all his siblings and his dam. If Bullwinkle with the unfortunate legs is an example of the babies that your Stallion is going to throw you should probably geld him now (especially since he seems to have leg problems also with as little riding as you put on him and as a four year old). As you know there are weanlings going through auctions some that have much better legs for about $65 (and yes even some of them are buckskin). Couldn't he be shown just as well as a gelding and then you wouldn't have to worry about producing more of him. If you get to call people out on thier breeding crappy horses shouldn't someone get to call you out. I do realize you are going to see if he does well in the show ring first so I'll give you a kudos there but I have seen some mediocre horses such as your stallion do well in the show ring so I am not sure that will prove he is breeding quality. Think you should take a look at what he has already produced before you make that decision and think about those weanlings (and other horses) at those auctions you like to talk about so much that need a good home.

verylargecolt said...

>>Will you still be able to show AQHA if you end up snipping him?<<

I could but I wouldn't spend that kind of money if he was a gelding. To me, the whole point of it is to increase his future value as a stallion. If he's my pleasure horse, he doesn't need to be worth anything more than the million bucks he's already worth to me, since he's one of my favorite horses I have ever ridden. Either way, he will never be resold. He is with me for life. :-)

But so far so good - his trainer doesn't feel his behavior is anything unusual for a young stallion in a training barn who is NOT the stallion who IS getting to breed mares there! Our new joke is that I need to acquire a horny, sterile mare to pasture him with so that he can entertain himself until he has earned the right to breed.

I love Bullwinkle and think he is an excellent colt - something I would have been proud to have bred even though I didn't have anything to do with his coming into being. I'd repeat that breeding in a heartbeat. You may of course disagree. I do understand that when I post pictures or other people post pictures, it invites criticism and of course I support everybody's right to criticize since I do plenty of it myself!

It is technically VLS now but the blog is already named VLC and everybody knows him as that, so just consider it a nickname. You know, the same way we called her the Breck Girl, if you're old enough to remember that, even though we all knew she was over 18!

verylargecolt said...

Oh, last note, he doesn't have any leg problems. He had a stifle injury, most likely caused by playing hard in deep mud, last fall but has had no problems since. If you believe you have bred a horse who is completely immune to hurting himself in the pasture, please do let us know as I am sure everybody would like to breed to him! :-)

LeadbyExample said...
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LeadbyExample said...
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