Posts Tagged ‘Sporthorse’

Well, yesterday Elvis began a new chapter in his life: we moved him to his new home in our soon-to-be new city of residence.  The day started out a bit dicey with unexpected weather.  I had checked the NOAA forecast and radar multiple times Sunday night and Monday morning, and I was prepared for some showers.  I wasn’t, however, prepared for the flurries that looked out-of-place while we were having our coffee, or the downpour of frozen rain that heralded our approach to the barn.   I was pretty nervous about the conditions worsening, especially since I had never trailered Elvis before and we were facing the tail end of rush hour traffic.  Fortunately though, by the time we had finished our final preparations the clouds parted and we actually had sunshine.

We ended up leaving a bit after predicted, partly because my barn owner and another boarder were there to say goodbye to Elvis and I.  This was such a nice surprise, and it made me realize (again) how much I’ll miss our small barn community.

I collected Elvis, swapped his blanket for a cooler, put on his shipping boots, and proceeded to load him.  I wasn’t sure how he’d do, as we’d never officially tried the trailer out.  I was so happy to see him calmly walk up to it and step right on.  He stopped once and took a step or two back, but it was a half-hearted attempt which was cut short with one sharp look from me.  Then, he proceeded to march right on but not before he paused once more, this time to reach out to Carla (the barn owner) and give her a nuzzle as if to say goodbye.  Then, once on he stood while I clipped him in and Carla closed up the trailer behind him.  We did our final door and light check and then, punctuated by a single and demanding stomp, we were off!  I was so proud to be driving my very own “rig”, with my very own horse inside, and accompanied by my husband.  We had a three and a half hour journey ahead of us.  Travel went very well with no fussing from Elvis and no trouble from impatient city drivers.

Once we arrived at our destination, we pulled onto the convenient circle-drive around the barn and parked.  My husband and I easily and quickly unloaded Elvis who once off the trailer, looked around briefly, and then noticed the grass underfoot.  Nicole, our new barn owner, greeted us and showed us to our stall.  Elvis walked into the barn like he owned the place and we left him in his stall to relax for an hour or so while we parked and unloaded the trailer.

Nicole’s place is really great.  It’s a very nice barn with loads of amenities, and she runs it like a tight ship.  She’s a professional and this is her professional career – that much is clear right away.  She designed her property for efficiency and she runs it in such a way that you can tell she takes pride in her work.  I really look forward to meeting the other boarders, and beginning some lessons with Nicole and the two dressage instructors.

After we put our things away, Nicole suggested turning Elvis out in his new paddock.  I was a little nervous about turning him out so quickly, but I trusted her judgement: she had a field full of low-on-the-totem-pole horses who acted as her regular welcoming committee.  So, I took Elvis over to visit these horses and they did indeed seem very mild.  After turning him out there was a lot of squealing, fake striking, and a few kicks.  Elvis was booted in the hamstring once but that was all that I saw, and the rest of the kicks were pathetically harmless.  Elvis was shunned by the group’s lead horse for about thirty minutes, during which time he became friends with the herd’s loner, but by the time I left the herd boss and Elvis were both grooming each other.

We plan on going back later this week to check on him, but I’m confident that he’s in the right place.  In fact, as we were driving away I asked my husband what he thought and how he felt.  He told me he wasn’t concerned in the slightest, and I realized I felt the same way.  I’m sad to be leaving my friends, and change always makes one nervous, but I’m excited at the same time to be in this new farm with new opportunities, and with the chance to make a new friend in my barn owner and the other boarders.

Below are photos of the day.  Elvis has lost a lot of muscle tone with his lack of riding and general movement due to the weather, just look past that for now.

Elvis takes a look at his new home.

Beautiful Barn.

Can I sneak him into the pasture before the other horses notice?
Can I sneak him into the pasture before the others notice?

I think he was saying here: "Are you sure about this, Mom?"
I think he was saying here: “Are you sure about this, Mom?”

First Greeting.

Working things out.

The Pony Dance.

Startled that the others took off.

Left Alone.. he looks rather shocked.

Strutting his stuff.

He is totally full of himself.
Full of self confidence.

Looking for an excuse to be silly.

One of the farm’s cutest residents.

The awesome ring… it is HUGE.


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I’ve been away for the Christmas holiday, having adventures in the high desert of Arizona, so please excuse the recent quiet nature of the blog.  While away I really missed Elvis, but this was very much placated with all of the wonderful things I discovered about the desert – I had a blast!

Anyway, I hope that all of my readers had a wonderful Christmas; mine was very special.  Elvis will be pleased to know that I (read: He) received a gift certificate to Dover and a new full set of leather galloping boots.  Not to mention flashy riding duds that I can wear, which will accentuate his debonair style (as opposed to detract from it).

I also hope that you are all looking forward to the New Year, and feel hopeful about the possibilities it holds for you.  In the past, I’ve not been one for resolutions, but this year I do have a few.  I will share my horse related ones:

  • I’d like Elvis and I to be solid with a training level test by the end of the year, and perhaps catch a late season show.  Bonus if we start working towards first level aspects.
  • I’d like to continue working Elvis over fences on the lunge, and have him comfortable enough that a transition to under saddle jumping is smooth, and we can pop over low fences as needed or wanted, both in the ring and on the trail.  A bonus if I feel as though we can put together easy courses.
  • I’d like to do some great trail riding off property.
  • I’d like to focus on increasing Elvis’s fitness level.
  • I’d like to go to at least one show to “watch” with Elvis.
  • I’d like to get even more serious about my fitness level so that I can be more effective as we progress in our skills.
  • I’d like to look back at the end of 2010, and know that I influenced at least five people to eventually purchase a saddlebred for sport.
  • I’d like to increase content on the blog, as well as reader participation and viewership.

In the spirit of my last resolution, I’d like to hear your New Year resolutions.  What are your hopes and goals for 2010?  Also, what (if anything) would you like to see added or changed about this blog (and this goes for both non-saddlebred people as well as those within the industry)?  Feel free to post your thoughts, even if you run across this entry well into 2010.

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To my readers:  I’m sorry I’ve been so lax with updates for nearly two weeks now.  I’ve had a lot going on in my non-horse life with family obligations and travel, and sadly Elvis has had to take a back seat.  I’ve been riding him an average of three times a week, and will return to my normal training schedule in the near future, but until then here’s to hoping some time off for Elvis will do him well!

Anyway, our lessons have been going swimmingly, in fact my last lesson, given after a week of time off, was super!  I wasn’t sure what to expect.. Elvis hadn’t been worked in a number of days and he is just a four year old, so I thought he might be a little on the distracted side.  He did have some focus issues, but all things considered I couldn’t be more happy with his performance.  The instructor continues to love him more and more, and during this particular lesson she couldn’t stop giggling to herself quietly whenever he’d… well, whenever he’d be himself.

In other news, my husband sat on Elvis for the first time!  I wish I could included a photo of that event in this posting, but he wouldn’t be thrilled with his image on the internet.  He also complained that he felt like somewhat of a child, because I insisted on controlling Elvis from the ground with a halter over the bridle, just for safety’s sake.  In all honesty, I think my husband is feigning indignation;  he’s seen Elvis’s athletic ability, and isn’t at all interested in being a crash test dummy.

With my husband’s help, I’ve also clipped Elvis again!  This time a high trace.  Things went better this go around with the help of Mr. Twitch.  Elvis stood quietly and focused on his nose as opposed to the giant whizzing clippers.  He’s a pretty sensitive horse, so I know that the sensation is really unpleasant for him.  The hair was falling so fast (and in such giant clumps), with such little protest that I kind of lost track of what I was doing.  As a result, I’m sad to report that I wasn’t reading Elvis as closely as I should have been (which for this horse is pretty darn closely) and he reached his “done” moment unexpectedly.  You know that point, right?  The time at which the 1k animal has run out of patience, and can’t be expected to learn any more?    Well, this put me in a pickle.  I couldn’t just let him decide when we were done.. especially since he showed me this decision by whacking his twitch against the fence with the express purpose of removing it, and removing it he did.  Somehow I had to set up a “win” situation for me with only my two hands to control a cranky 4yo who is smarter than he really should be, keep a non-horsey husband out of harms way, and not paint myself into a corner.  This task added about an extra 40 minutes to the procedure, and of course it took place a mere ten minutes before I would have been done otherwise.  Elvis had a few (controlled) outbursts of frustration, entirely encouraged by the fact that he had identified my husband as the weak link, but by the end I was able to do some pressure release work with him and the clippers where I called the start and end times.  Yet another reminder that with young horses, nothing is cut and dry.

Finally, a small but happy thing is that Elvis’s long overdue dressage bridle finally arrived.  He looks great in it, and Bartville Harness Shop supplied me with another fantastic piece of leatherwork (semi-custom fitted) for a great value.  For those of you who have shown frustration with scratches, I’d like to let you know that I also ordered two pairs of the inexpensive Roma Form Fit Boots.  Until spring, I’ll be putting my fancy neoprene/stomatex wraps as they just don’t dry out after washing (and I must wash them frequently, because I’m just like that).  This irritates Elvis’s scratches, plus it puts strain on the boots which are too fancy to ruin in one season.  So, I’m using the neoprene-free Romas this fall/winter.  For an inexpensive boot, I’ve always loved them.  I just wish they weren’t so hot, otherwise I’d happily use them in spring/summer.

As penance for my neglect, here are a few photos taken by my husband from yesterday’s ride.  The ride was a great one, as Elvis was consistent the entire ride, yay!  Photos of the clip job will be posted later.  My husband convinced me to snap a few shots as a trophy of our hard work and a job well done by all – including Elvis.

Good Boy!

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