Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Springtime Rides.

Out visiting Moon this afternoon, since the weather was nice and I'm trying to maintain my minimum 2 visits per week.

After a good long grooming, I threw a bridle on Moon and went bareback around the yard. I've come to notice that I REALLY need to work on keeping him from inverting, holding his head high and hollowing his back to avoid the bit. He's been absolutely dreadful with that lately, especially when he gets it in his head that he wants to avoid a certain area of the ring or because he wants to run when I want to walk.

I'm going to do some research into methods for correcting this, and hope to have some $$ soon to start him on bi-weekly lessons. We both REALLY need it!

Lastly, Rockin' R Ranch, the folk who bred him, are emailing me a copy of his transfer papers. So pretty soon I can send everything in to AQHA and get the revised registrations. Yippee!

Should be back out Saturday morning for some more training of my boy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Dream.

Years ago, when I was a kid, there was a stable just outside the Perimeter highway. We would have to pass it on weekends, when my parents drove us into the city to go grocery shopping. Every time, I would stare out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stable, and hopefully the horses, as it was the only one between our house and the stores. It really was, the only horses I'd get to see.

There was one horse, always in the paddock, that you could see well from the highway as we flashed past. This horse, always wore this plaid sheet. I always looked specifically for this horse, and dreamed that someday, I'd have a horse in a plaid blanket of my own.

I never really forgot about the horse in the plaid blanket, and years later while buying my own horse riding gear, I came across "The Baker Sheet". Yes, the Baker sheet. That was my plaid blanket that horse wore every time we drove by. The Baker sheet, really is a gorgeous piece of work, with the most beautiful plaid, and blue binding and straps. I love it.

So for my birthday, my sisters bought me my dream blanket. I even got to try it on my pony right there at the farm, and he looked great (minus his tubby bell!). He looked great in it, and I can't wait for summer so he can start to wear it. My plaid pony!!

This morning, the BF and I went out early in the crisp morning to meet the farrier, who is great. She trimmed up Moon'ers feet, and got them looking great. I'm so pleased with his hooves, which grow super fast and are uber strong. I'm not sure if the hoof conditioner will actually make a difference, but we'll see. Figure for as inexpensive as it is, might as well go through a container before I make any judgement calls.

After the farrier finished the trim, BF and I groomed my boy, who's shedding like CRAZY. The only thing that drives me crazy is the 'dander' or 'dust', that greying that shows up as you get the shedding hairs out. I've seen this on tons of darker colored horses, and it just makes them look dirty until the spring shed is done. Ah well. Guess it'll be over soon enough.

After breakfast at Pine Ridge Hollow, we came back with my family for a visit, and I got my Baker Sheet. At a size 76, it fits well, except for Moon'ers big hay belly. But since we plan on exercising lots this summer, including plenty of trotting poles, hopefully we'll tone that, and get the sheet fitting better. He REALLY needs to rebuild back and gut muscle, which will be the focus of this year.

Laying in the tack shed, was a clear sleeve containing MoonSox's Registration papers, along with a bill of sale. I was thrilled, since I'd searched the All Breeds Pedigree ( a couple of times, and didn't find anything.

Well, he's registered with AQHA as "RR Moons Sox", RR coming from the ranch where he was bred: Rothwell and Ron. The place is still in existance, as Rothwell Quarter Horses, or Rocking R Ranch. They're still breeding quarter horses, and have a couple of half-sisters of my MoonSox. Frostys Moon Bar and RR Moons Continental, both our of Moons Star Trek.

After reading that his sire was "Moons Star Trek", I was thrilled! I'm a big Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, namely because Picard and the fact that he rides horses. I'll even admit to have a bit of a crush there, expecially when Picard is riding holographic horses around. Shakespear and Horses are the key to my drooling. : P

Anyway, I came to learn that Moon actually comes (on both sides) from Running Quarter Horses, with some TB blood in his mix. His ancestors were actually Hall of Fame horses, won races, have records set and pulled in decent amounts of money. I'm beyond amazed, as Moon is a sweet, pudgy QH, who certainly doesn't look like he'd win any races...then again, he does love to run and with some exercise and conditioning, maybe I'll have a little sport horse on my hands...

So I've emailed Rocking R Ranch to see if they can assist me in transfering his papers. There's been no record of transfer since he was sold from them however many years ago. From what I understand, they would have sold him to someone, who knows how many times he was sold from there, and when he was 9 or 10, T bought him from folks in Beausejour. Hopefully I don't need to trace back through every owner!

Unfortunately, someone scribbled all over his registration papers in neon pink highlighter. . Maybe I can get a reprint?

As for his color, his registration papers read: Chestnut. I still think he might be a bay, but w/e. Dark brown maybe? : P

So that's that. My birthday included my dream Baker sheet, on my dream pony, who is officially known as RR Moons Sox. I'm still calling him MoonSox. My pony, my name. : )

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Gear and Spring Ride

Finally got around to uploading some pics of Moon's new gear.

More importantly, we went for our first hack down the road, just a 1/2 mile and back. Moon was high as a kite, typical spring pony, but we had a great time and I really enjoyed myself. Poor Moon was all sweaty by the time we got back, but it's a good start to the year.

I also wormed him, though he was so well behaved, I'm still not sure I didn't accidently squirt it all on the ground...or the tube was empty!

My new tack box is filled, and I also had a chance to use the RainMaker on his hooves to start conditioning them. Good afternoon, excellent escape from work.

Oh, and you'll note the pic of a little wind puff on his front foreleg...was gone a week later, so hopefully no big deal...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The 'Boys'

I figured I'd email my old polo boss to find out if there were any polo clinics coming up this summer. I was surprised by the speed of his response, almost in the blink of an eye! He really does love the sport, and my time riding and grooming his horses just made me fall in love with it too.

Turns out that the owners of Misty River are managing the Royal Winnipeg Polo Club now, which is awesome. I took lessons from the Biron's last year, and it's a nice facility. G, the old boss, took me by surprise by letting me know that my old favorite polo pony, Hobo, and second favorite horse Danny (the one who caused my head injury), are likely retiring after this year. I was floored to hear that they will be 19 this year! 19! That's crazy. I hope that Moon'er can move like that right through 19 years, and beyond. I'm so happy that both of them have had such long and successful lives. Of course, now I'm wondering what they plan on doing with them. No surprise that I'd have every temptation to see if G would give me old Hobo to look after for the rest of his years. I mean, I doubt he'd be willing to keep covering their board and expenses, considering what I recall of Peppercorn and Krista when they got too old. Krista was actually still kinda young but no longer sound, and she went to a breeding operation. Peppercorn if I recall correct was either sold as a pasture mate, or given to a horse rehoming operation.

Guess when it comes to my old buddy Hobo, I'd rather not see him go off to someone else's place. : (

He might make a nice mount for people wanting an easy ride...

It'd be a bit extra board costs every month, and being a total TB, he'd probably need some warm blankets or extra grain to get through the winter. But still. He's my old friend too.

Why do we all have to grow up?

Anyway, G listed a couple places that hope to start slow polo in their barns, and that they're doing some clinics as well. I'd probably have to trailer in, but it would be okay for a weekend as long as I can maneuver the trailer around. And he invited me out to visit with the boys again, which would be really nice. It's been such a long time, and I do miss them terribly. So sad to see that they're retiring. It's been what? 6 years since I rode for him? 6 years! They were MoonSox's age when I started riding for him. Which is incredible. Time just passes way too quickly.

So, I'll give him a call and see if I can come out for a visit sometime. Might be to my advantage...And might be an awesome sport for me and my MoonSox to grow old in together.

Birthday Spoils and AQHA Ride Program

Two things. Firstly, Moon's old owner emailed me last night, and further dropped his price. Why? Because we're perfect for each other, and this is now the awesomest birthday/christmas present ever. T and M are all just wonderful. My boy is worth a million dollars to me, and so regardless of how much we winded up paying for him at the end of the day, he was destined to be worth more then we paid. Still, the extra pocket change will go towards spoiling him, and I've already figured out what it will be on...

The American Quarter Horse Association. I printed out the transfer papers this morning, and hope that it will be easy to get them switched over. The cost is $15, which is no big deal. Now, that's after I buy an AQHA membership, which is standard at $55...

Except, I noticed their AQHA Ride Program. It's awesome. You essentially track your riding hours each year, submit your log and then they accumulate. As you reach levels, you receive rewards, such as bumper stickers, badges, AQHA shirts...and eventually, silver concho's, gift certificates to western stores, and even a beautiful silver belt buckle with your hours recorded on it!!

And to sign up for the program, it's only $115, which includes a 3 year membership with AQHA plus a lifetime enrolment with the Riding Program. Sounds perfect to me! That means that whenever we're out riding, I'm logging hours towards awesome stuff on my quarter horse!

This is the best 26th Champagne birthday ever!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

'Cause he's my boy.

I went out for a much needed visit with my MoonSox after work today. I didn't plan on riding, but rather to give him such loving and relax and enjoy the peace of being outdoors with a close friend.

He was pretty gritty with all the shedding (he promises me spring at least), and I took the time to give him a 100% grooming, top to tail. He tried some of my new peppermint treats, and we practiced dropping our head to pressure and making sure he walked really nice on a lead line. He's such a wonderful boy.

His old owner showed up, and I was finally able to give her the cheque for Moon's purchase. I hadn't been wanting to leave it sitting in the tack shed, so carried it around all these months until today. Moon is and always will be absolutely invaluable to me, as he's my dearest riding partner and I trust him to carry me safely wherever we might travel. So when she proposed a price for my boy that was more then generous, but based on the fact that we have a partnership that is invaluable in its own right, I was floored. She really is one of the truly wonderful people, who would give you the shirt off their back. I'm taken aback everytime, and always feel incredibly lucky to called her a friend. And the fact that Moon is now my wonderful partner in crime, just makes it that much more special.

So I put Moon's new bucket out at the barn, and hope to bring his new tack box out on Friday and organize it with all of his new stuff. Maybe we can go for a much needed trail riding around the block, since we haven't been out in forever.

I'm going to plait his tail and mane for my birthday, and it's so luxurious that I'm excited. I had a look at his front hoof which showed a bit of a wind-puff the last time I was out, but it's completely vanished, so hopefully that's over. I did notice a crack developing on his right fore, which hopefully we can address when the farrier is out on Sunday. I recall Perry, the old Polo farrier doing v-notches in cracks to prevent them from splitting further. I've a feeling that this is what my Moon needs.

I'm still pleased with his hooves, despite how long I've let them grow out again. They always remain pretty solid, and hopefully this trim we can get rid of the old chips that have been hanging out. A few months from now, and his one abscess mark should be trimmed off as well. Next time I'm out, I have to remember to start brushing his hooves with the treatment.

Oh, and I didn't have a chance to try on his new fly mask. Oh well. Guess that'll be for the next time I'm out...

I really do have a lot of horse stuff though! I've got the bucket with whips and crops and brushes and treats, and a whole bin full of boots and wraps and fly stuff, plus a bridle rack covered in halters, leadropes and girths! And saddles and pads on the stands! SPOILED pony!

Can't wait to go out and visit with him again; horses are my pleasure, and he is my dream!

Fleet Farm Fantasy

We went down to Fargo for my birthday this past weekend, which was absolutely awesome. It's de-wormer time, and the price down there is always 1/2 of what it is here. So I picked up a year's supply for Moon, including some Equavalan Gold and Exodus, making sure that I'll get the bots as well. We'll rotate these with Ivermectin and should be good for the season.

While I was at it, I bought a good bot knife for this year, a pair of western nylon reins for my english trail bridle (the leather is starting to go on that one, so I figure these comfy reins should be a nice replacement), and some rain-maker hoof conditioner to make sure Moon's feet stay in tip-top shape with all the riding we'll be doing.

I also checked the price of horse vaccines, which the 5-way is $23 at Fleet Farm. So now if it's cheaper then W&W, I'll just see if I can pick it up down there next year. Even their dog vaccines were quite in-expensive.

I love shopping for horse stuff, especially since I've finally got one all of my own. So I got a pair of standing wraps that were on sale, and a container of flyspray, with a neat little carabeener clip built right in. A new blue feeding bucket, and two big bags of horse treats later, and I was pretty satisfied. Oh, and a grey and red fly mask for this summer, since the one I had ordered from HorseLoverz was backordered and then not shipped. Last but not least, a new locking bin for all my gear, that has wheels and a nice long handle to drag it around. I'm really looking forward to getting it all organized for Spring! I'm thinking I'll head out to the barn tonight to groom Moon'er and then pick up my gear to fit into the new bin at home.

I also still have to try Moon's new bridle on. OH, and the bf bought me rainbow braiding elastics! So Sunday morning before Moon's farrier appointment (I'm TOTALLY behind!), I'm going to braid his mane and tail all pretty, and get him dressed up for when my family comes out to meet him.

Oh, boo-urns. I just realized I didn't get a comb to pull Moon's mane! Oh well. Guess that should wait for warmer weather anyway...

What I also bought while we were down in the States, was some pressure treated lumber to make 3 sets of jump standards, and 6 poles. I had bought 3 sets of jump cups from, plastic with the nice thick metal pins. This means that we'll have 5 standards on the property and 8 poles, which will be PERFECT for ground work and jumping actual courses. I just can't wait for everything to thaw enough for some real riding!

And being pressure treated, they'll last . Just need again, the weather to warm so I can start making them!

Oh spring, where are you?!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

If only Spring would come...

Spending a couple days in Mexico ruins one for Wintery Winnipeg Weather in March. Since getting back, it's all I can do to envision a great sea of melting, dreaming of the day when the grass is green and I can ride MoonSox like the wind in the spring breeze.

My HorseLoverz purchase arrive a couple weeks back (quicker then expected), and other then FedEx leaving the giant box on my front step, it arrived without issue. Oh, and the fact that the fly mask I was eagerly awaiting was backordered and then cancelled. Granted, I got my money back, but still. Now I have to find a different one for my boy.

I went out to the barn yesterday, not in a riding mood, but just looking for some horse therapy. I took Moon into one of the hay corrals, since this area is free from snoppy or snobby horses who bite my saddle or my pony.

After a good long grooming, where I noticed a long cut that looked wire induced, a couple of small sores and what looks to be some sort of leg injury. That was the only one that really worried me, though it was neither hot nor sore. Just a small semi-solid lump on his pastern that I know wasn't there previously. I'm going to keep an eye on it and hope it's benign.

I also noticed he is need of a good hoof trim, as they've grown out a lot and have a dished appearance. What I'm happy to see, is that there's no fresh splitting, and the old splits and abscesses seem to be growing out well.

I tried on all my new tack (minus the pretty new bridle which I'll save for warmer weather), and am sooo happy with HorseLoverz. The new halter is a dream to put on and off thanks to the throat snap, which is A MUST for every halter I buy now. I even like the new short lead which is more like a dog leash, as it doesn't drag as much and yet he still stands 'tied' when it's just hanging down to the ground (but not so long he's at risk of stepping on it).

I bought a set of ridiculously cheap front brushing boots, which are of waxed leather and neoprene and worth about $70 new. I'm kicking myself for not buying the matching rears, as these 'smalls' are PERFECT for him. Oh well, it's more important to have fronts anyway.

I bought a pair of cheaper neoprene 'Full' size rear knock boots, and think they might actually be a bit large. The neoprene overlaps and they just look...bulky.

The bell boots are a perfect fit which is awesome, and I tried on the fly sheet as well. Was a little dissapointed in the rust stains from the buckles, but quickly got over that when one of the brats in the next pasture reached over the fence and mouthed the don't really notice rust on blanket spotted in manure mouth marks.

The blanket was pretty much a perfect fit, with the front buckle and surcingle let out fully. That's a little unfortunate, but hopefully Mr. Moon looses a bit of weight this year and it has room to go down. I think I'll probably by a 76" from now on, just to be safe. We'll see how it is once he's running around in it. The fabric quality and style are both wonderful though. And I think he'll enjoy being bug free. : )

So, shopping trip was a success, and I even got to see how much he enjoyed his new face curry. Man, he loved that.

And feeling the trip should be more then just playing dress-up, we spent some time working on releasing to poll pressure, which he did amazing at. He really picked up on it quick, and was dropping his head fully to the ground after only a couple of minutes.

I also worked a bit on leading with him, and when not distracted by the other horses, he exhibited a beautiful halt and back from a loose lead line. I'm starting to think he's had more training in his past then I realized.

Now to book the farrier for next weekend and hope that the weather warms up...though that just means wet fields and ditches, which aren't any more conducive to riding then what we have now.