Thursday, October 29, 2009

Heading off for a ride this weekend. There will be more updates and new news about Storm when I get back. For now, here are some pics of an adorable pony I met last weekend, that could be his twin! I want to take him home.... "Red" is cute as a button!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Beach he's a Humboldt Horse :)

Today (all week looks like, after having rained all weekend) was sunny and beautiful. Last fall fling I have the feeling, before the rains hit for good. So I decided Storm should become a true "Humboldt Horse" and learn about the ocean. He already is becoming a native as his lovely tail attests (this is what happens here in the's a PITA that only braiding and bagging fixes...sighhh), so might as well go all the way.

So off to Trinidad Beach (small beach, not a "ton" of riding to do, but right around the corner from Terri's so a good "first" beach) we go. I could have ridden there (bout 40 mins through the neighbor's and the town's back roads), but he doesn't like my straight load as well and needs trailering practice (gets in with coaxing, in a couple of mins, but I like mine to just eagerly hop in when told) so I decided to hook up and drive over there (5mins). He was still slow to get in at the property, but much better on the "home" trip. I think I will keep taking "small" trips like that and he'll get better and better. Once at the beach, I tacked up and then just led him all over the place for a good hour before even bothering to get on.

There were several different ppl out on the beach that were really friendly and offered to take pictures of us, when they saw me struggling with a camera and a horse trying to climb into my lap, LOL. So I got some good pics :) THANKS!

We went up and over "boulders" (great practice for paying attention to your feet and a good confidence builder to climb up and down and over and jump down and such) that stick out of the sand and into the waves bit by bit.

Waves really seem to scare horses that have never seen them before, even if they are used to other water like creeks and ponds. The horse seems to feel that it is WRONG for water to "chase" you, LOL...and some horses even get dizzy in the ocean and fall over. When he finally seemed fairly relaxed and bored with it all, I mounted up and just rode along the water line for another 20mins, letting him get closer and closer to the waves. Trinidad beach is beautiful, but a bit more rugged than some of our other area beaches. The tide comes up fairly high and the waves are fairly short and it is hard to get "flat" water to slowly go into, instead of actual "waves"... But eventually we got our feet wet (I REALLY like how Storm approaches "scary" stuff..he doesn't just spazz out, instead he stops or startles a little, LOOKS, and then thinks about it. As long as you give him confidence and tell him he is being a good boy, he gets over the startle and will investigate whatever it is. Then, once he has figured out something won't eat him, he's pretty much done for good with that object and doesn't spook at it anymore...). I made him go in a few times, then I called it quits on a good note and I took him back to the trailer. After I untacked him, I took him back down to the sand for the "beach treat" all our horses LOVE...a good roll in wonderful beach sand. He caught on to that quick and I took a few more pictures before loading up to head home. He was a good boy and we had several tourists come up and pet him and admire him. He'll be a great ambassador for his species and breed :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sopping Wet Group Ride

I took Strom out for his first "group ride" today. 4 other horses, 3 mares and a gelding. He has not met any of the horses previously. We were going to go for a nice, easy, "greenie" ride in the Arcata Community Forrest (a new location for him too) with a new rider and her new horse (they are not the best and green often making black and blue), so there was not a bunch of fast riding planned. ACF has a LOT of hills too, so long, slow walking on hills would be perfect for him and strengthening those gaiting muscles.
When I picked him up at Terri's, he didn't want to load. He and Eowyn are in total love and she was screaming at him not to leave. But finally he got in and off we went. It was cloudy but warm and dry when we left and the forecast called for only a very slight chance of misty showers. I got there before the other gals and got him nice and cleaned up, booted, tacked up and settled. Then the other horses began arriving and of course he had to tell everyone that he was there and the COOL DUDE. This is the only time he really makes any noise. He doesn't talk on the trail, but tied up to the trailer where he can't see, but hears and smells the other horses, he talks to them a lot. So far I am not sure how much to correct him for it or not, since he is absolutely behaved in hand or under saddle... The new gals who hadn't seen him before, of course were oogling him and admiring him. A KMSH is not common around here, actually any gaited horse for that matter, and one so good looking and a stud on top of it was plenty of reason to come drool...
Out on trial, he was very well behaved. We had to wait a few times to try and get the green rider up on her antsy horse, which ended up not working, so she traded mounts with one of the other gals. That helped. So off we went. Then the rain began..first a little sprinkle, then showers. Pretty soon it was POURING and we were getting sopping wet. Luckily it wasn't too cold, so we were not too miserable. But the ponies were wet and shaking rain out of their eyes, and the riders were grumping about everything squishing and squashing. We were passed by the park ranger on an ATV twice,with headlights on, and Storm didn't bat an eye. We also were passed by two different hikers with umbrellas, which I was sure would spook him, but he only looked at them suspiciously and kept on walking... What a GOOD BOY! The footing was pretty good though (rock base..ACF is often the local winter riding grounds, as well as the beach, as the footing stays good no matter how much it rains) and we finished the 1hr loop out there and all headed back to the trailers. All in all it was a wet, but very good ride for the two of us. Monday I will take him out to Trinidad Beach I think :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eowyn Grows up

For those who don't know, Eowyn is my 4 1/2 yo half-arab filly. She just finished her first Limited Distance endurance ride this past weekend. All horses below are OK (thankfully Storm is a NICE boy as such. Chey could have really gotten seriously hurt or even Storm. Good thing the boys worked things out and only scrapes came out of it. But any of you considering keeping a stud where there might be mares, make sure your fences are REALLY secure as are ALL LATCHES to gates. I thought they I am going DOUBLY secure, LOL... live and learn..first time at this "stallion adventure" thing, so there were bound to be some bobbles...

aka: Why Terri and I are Not Going to High Desert Classic This Weekend
Well, here is another story for ja...sigh...oh the joys of stallion boarding/ownership/training (note for all ja that are even thinking of it...even the "good boys" are still BOYS...). Terri and I were all set to go to the HDC ride this weekend. Leaving this afternoon actually. Well, we have two major bobbles that decided against it. The second and final clincher was her truck's clutch going out today as she went to finish up some last minute chores in town before we left. Won't be fixed til Monday sometime, but at least it didn't happen on the road with horses in tow...
The first bobble happened this morning though. Terri calls me up at about 9am and left me a mssg (was out dealing with chickens myself) and all I could do was shake my head and laugh. It's never a dull day at the Tinkham Ranch... turns out, when she made her way down to the pasture/barn area to feed this morning, she had a wonderful surprise. Let me give you the setup we have at her place.
She has a two-horse run in shelter with a small hay/grain storage attached to the back. This is at the "front" fence of the pasture area (bout 4 acres maybe). A bit further in, is our 60ft roundpen, then a little further is a 3-horse run in shelter near the "left side" fence of the pasture area. We took this 3-stall and closed off the last stall and with cross fencing (as seen on my blog back when I got Storm) we built Firestorm his own pasture and shelter area. Most of it is fairly high no-climb type fence with a line of hot tape on top and inside at chest height. The "gate" area is a corral pipe panel gate with the hot tape going across as a gate inside it as well. The only "weak" spot is in the shelter area. We split off his "stall" of the shelter from the other two with pipe corral panels that were already there (it used to be our "guest" and "quarantine" and otherwise separate a horse area...could leave gates open and work as run-ins or close off and work as stalls w/runs as needed). Near the head/food area they had built in plywood side walls that were pretty solid. So just the 2panel length from the plywood to Storms other fencing was only 5ft high with no hot fence (that has now been has hot fence on top and inside all over today!). The 3 boys (Chey, Oli, and Storm) got along fine, so that seemed to work great. When one of the mares came by (before or after a ride to have em all in one place for trailering), the 3-stall area gates were all shut and that kept storm sequestered behind several fences.
Until today.
We had Eowyn at Terri's after the ride cause all three went in her trailer and I had the goats in mine. Normally she is with her mom and Jazz at my "mare pasture" in the next two towns over. She was, of course, in heat (like her mother, traveling ALWAYS brings her in heat...also like mom, she is a terrible slut...siiighhhh). Can you all see where this is going already??
Anyway, near as we can figure is this: Eowyn (who was kinda oogling poor Storm already) must have jiggled with the gate latch (she always plays with this stuff, tears stuff hanging on fences, opens doors, etc...) til it was open (it will get a snap lock as backup next too from now on), in the "pen" that adjoins Storms. Terri thought it was Storm, but I watched him this morning while he was in that stall (while I fixed up his nice and secure with more hot fencing and Eow was locked in the roundpen and both were yelling at each other like freaking Romeo and Juliet..sighhh) and he was hanging his head over the gate, pawing hte fence, etc...but didn't even TRY to mess with the latch system. Like he had no idea what it was for. Eow knows exactly what they are for....she was known as an escape artist at the trainers, who had similar latches to ours...So I think SHE opened it, went to the (single line of panels, no hot fence) fence adjoining Storm's pen, and teased him. Well, he got tired of the teasing and wanted to get some...and he did.There is a nice dent in the top of one panel, where he went over it.
What met Terri this morning: Eowyn and Storm playing snuggly, starry eyed lovers in one area of the pasture...Oliver minding his own darn business in another area of the pasture (he had not a mark on him. smart boy knew when to stay out of BIG MAN'S way and leave well enough alone). Cheyenne cowering in the 3-stall shelter with bite and kick scrapes all over him (luckily none bad and nothing worse than those, and a bit of a stiff gait from overexertion in the fight...) cause he was NOT smart enough to stay out of it and has always fancied himself "stud" of our herd.
So....per our call in to the vet: in three weeks we are doing a preg check on the filly (who is now TRULY "all grown up"...guess that is ONE way to celebrate your graduation...:P) and aborting if she took (which, if she is like her mom, she took. And I know that Storm usually shoots well on the first shot and they both had who knows how long last night to get it right...). Sighhhhhh...ah well. Guess neither Terri or I can complain of boredom, right??

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What A Good Boy!

Ok, so it has been FOREVER since I last posted. Sorry about that...but summer has been SUPER busy with rides and work. And then, trying to find ppl that will ride with a stallion is hard (they just have a bad rap, no matter what! Sighh....I think he won some definite converts today...) and riding around 5 acres or the roundpen was getting old. I also won't ride green horses alone...just too much to go wrong and then no one around to help or call for help if you get hurt....
Well, I finally have rounded up one for sure. They guy who trained my 4yo has no issues with riding with a stud and even had one for the longest time. He was thrown off a horse a few months back and broke his collar bone though, He's finally back to riding now and we'll meet up with him at least once a week I hope. I also recruited the gal who sometimes boards with me. She rides endurance as well and has been brining along a Junior rider who rides Terri's green Morab mare. So today we all met at one of the access points to some local timber land. My friend Karen on her gelding, and the Junior on Terri's mare. Two horses Storm has never met, one a mare, a new location, and only his second time on trail since coming here (and not having been ridden at all in a month, as Sept was WAY busy...). Recipe for a great test, LOL :)

I made sure to arrive a half hour earlier than the others and give him a good brush down, let him eat hay, and just hang out and get used to the new location. He was pretty mellow and enjoyed the attention (poor boy must have thought I had forgotten all about him lately...). After the gals arrived and got all tacked up, we walked down the road to the trail head. He "talked" to the other two once, and then that was it. GOOD BOY! He was pretty good about keeping his attention on me while leading down the road.
Once on the trail, there was all sorts of stuff to pay attention to besides the other horses. We had to cross a boggy puddle/crick/runoff that then turned up a steep embankment right off the bat. Then a bunch of roots and logs to step over. He did great, though he jumped the crick. I didn't fuss with it going out, but on the way back , where there was more room, I made him cross it several times til he just walked in and over it. GOOD BOY again :)
A ways down the trail, we found a good mounting stump and everyone got on and we moved on down the trail. We ran into a bunch of dead ends (we didn't know the area and it is a rabbit's warren of logging roads and motorcycle trails) and kept having to turn around (which would get everyone excited, thinking they were "going home") and back track to the last intersection and try a new path. We stopped and took pictures at one intersection that had a nice stand of pampas grass and good lighting ...

Yes, I am still using that "this makes my ass look HUGE" saddle, LOL...but it's really compfy and works GREAT on greenies (I have a secure seat AND a "panic handle" if all else fails in the pommel, LOL) and since it is a Specialized, I can move the panels around to where I need them for various horses. I want to eventually find someone that just wants to trade straight across for the same saddle (EuroLight...OR a Trailmaster would be ok), but they need a smaller seat and I will take the larger (only ONE inch though, please!) seat...know anyone??
Everything went mostly well, except when we'd trot. The other two trot pretty fast and Storm can't seem to hold gait at those speeds yet (I keep forgetting he hasn't really had any gait work done with him) and he kept falling into a step pace and once or twice into a hard pace! BAD BOY. So I just would make him canter (which he does do nicely) instead. Well, then he'd get excited (he seems to have a slight competitive streak, LOL) and get "hunchy" buck, but the threat was there...we worked it out eventually though. I am going to have to really work on his gait though...the lateral junk is NOT going to be acceptable, exp cause I know he has both Runwalk and Rack in him from before... I will have to find some slower, "pokey" riders to go with, that don't do a full out endurance trot, LOL...I think the trainer actually has quarter horses, so riding with him will be perfect...we'll smooth it out. He also just needs time in the saddle to strengthen his gaiting muscles. Today we did do 90% walking, so that kind of stuff will help lots.
All in all, he was a VERY Good Boy and I can't wait to have more time to play with him. He keeps this up, I will have to take him to the beach soon... That will be exciting...but fun I hope. I don;t think he's ever seen the ocean before. It can be pretty daunting to a horse. Water is not supposed to "cahse" you after all (waves) and all that wind and stimulation (ppl, loose crazy dogs, kites, kids, parachute surfers, etc). But it sure is a fun place to let a horse play once they get used to it and to go for a good old fashioned full out gallop :)