Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Beach and Gaiting

Ok, I finally got around to uploading the gaiting video frm the beach the other day. This is what I call a "test" gait...I tried to interfere as little as possible with him to see how he would gait "naturally". Basically just kept reins on him enough to keep him going (somewhat..sighh...) straight on the beach or keep him from taking off toward the trailer (you'll see he tried that once in the video, LOL)... I tried to also sit "neutral" in the saddle. He was doing a lot of pacey stuff, though all of it was smooth. So now we will definitely work on gaiting a lot more (just lots of walking/getting in shape will help too) and then later we'll try another video :) He does seem to gait well going uphill at the local park, but on the flat he falls back into paceiness...
Here is the link to the video we made. totally unedited and repetitive, but gives ja a good idea.
And some pictures from the day... It was trying to rain too..yuck...

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Sinkhole Watercrossing

Well, we went out to Clam Beach today to try and beat the rain and get a few gaiting videos (if I can figure out how to post them, I will...if not, I will try and make a youtube post). To get out there, you have to (well, you can park a mile or so further down the beach at a different lot, but this one is the "official" horse lot) cross a waterhole/pond made by the creek flowing to the ocean. Usually it is not too deep and you can find some shallower spots, ppl even cross in trucks and such to go 4 wheeling on the beach (it sure is fun to watch inexperienced drivers cross and get stuck though, LOL). There is a sign warning it can be 2-4ft deep...
Storm was a bit leary crossing (can't blame him, the water is not very clear so it is hard to see how deep it is and where), but once I convinced him to go in, he gave it a good go. Course HE wanted to decided where to go and not listen to me, so amidst our discussing where to go, he turned around and tried to come back..straight through a really deep spot... at which point his feet went out from under him and he got into a huff (I wasn't expecting to swim either, LOL) and was trying to rear out of the water. He found his footing after a few bounds though and was fine. Then we turned around again and went back, him finally agreeing to let ME pick the way, which got my toes wet, but kept his on solid ground... here is a series of pictures of the crossing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Well, Storm got to go on another ride yesterday. We went to Arcata Forest for a few hours with this nice woman I sometimes ride with. It was good on many levels. She is a begginer rider and her horse sometimes just does whatever he wants (like cantering off up a hill while we trot, or going off trail, or up Storm's butt :) ) and this gives Storm a good feel of the "random horse behavior" that will happen at endurance rides. Like horses passing and leaving him, running into him (no matter HOW many ribbons you put in a horse's tail, someone ALWAYS ignores them and will invade your space), acting up, etc. So he needs to learn to be ok with it. He pretty much was good with everything except the other horse taking off without him. We actually got a few mini-meltdowns. This is actually a GOOD thing, because I need to know a) what he does in a meltdown and b) if I can control him when he does. And I don't want to find those out at an endurance ride, in the middle of nowhere, when I get bucked off and a loose stallion goes flying down the trail to who knows where :) So the answers to those are a) throws his head around, pulls on the reins and tries to take off, and hunches up a little, but no buck or rear. So b) yes, with a one rein stop and facing back opposite of the leaving horse, he is easy to break out of his little tantrum. GREAT! So I think even if he has little tantrums, it won't be a big deal. Esp as the more experience he gets, the less likely we'll even HAVE tantrums.
Also good about this ride, since she is not a very experienced rider, we were just going for a "fun" ride and I could set the pace. This meant I could finally get a good idea of his gaits. He does a nice little runwalk at about 5-7mph, then a really cute rack at about 7-11mph...after that he breaks into a step pace. I am hoping as he gets stronger, that rack can speed up a little more. He also does a nice canter and a weird (ok, I am not a western pleasure rider, so to me it feels weird and like the horse is dead LAME, LOL) 4 beat lope too. Then a good, fun hand gallop too. Very good! So far he has never once offered to trot or foxtrot, so I think he is fairly laterally wired.
I also really worked him a bit and made him run up some of our good hills and then check his heart rate and breathing. He still has to build a lot of lung capacity, but though his HR needs a little work, it was a lot lower after each run, than I was expecting. That's a GREAT thing too! And he seemed to recover fairly well. So with lots of conditioning, I think we really do have a good endurance horse in the making :)
Tomorrow, if it is not pouring rain (showers are listed), I will take him out to Clam Beach and see how he does there...if I get lucky, I might be able to rope a friend into videoing his gaits for me and taking pics :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Announcement

Well, I promised some big news after the weekend. As of early last week, Terri, Barb (his breeder in Canada who helped ship him out here from KY...see some of the first posts), and I are now the PROUD NEW OWNERS of Firestorm! Whoo Hoo!!
This is so much more exciting than I can even convey. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would own (even a 1/3) this boy. I was pretty content just getting to be his "trainer" and caretaker for now. But that little worry always lurked in the back of my mind, that he would be sold to someone that wouldn't take good care of him. Or even if they did, wouldn't appreciate him for what he could do, and be. And also would end up taking him out of the gene pool by gelding him, which he really shouldn't have happen to him as he is such a good looking guy with great disposition,etc. Basically what all studs SHOULD be and not as many are. Course add to that his homozygous color and you have the icing on the cake :)
Anyway, it's been a waiting game as such. Kamela waiting for a buyer, me waiting and hoping he wouldn't sell til I could (yeah, right!) one day afford to buy him. Then one day a few weeks ago, Kamela says she really is needing to sell him and I say I wish I could, but can't afford the current price. She made me a pretty good offer, but one I still couldn't afford alone BUT it COULD be feasible with one or two other people. So I quickly called up Terri and tried to get a hold of Barb as well, to see if they could go in on it, and both said YES! We haggled out the details as fast as possible and sent the go-ahead back to Kamela and the deal was done.
I am just SO pleased! Terri will most likely have me buy out her 1/3 in a few yrs when I have the money (though maybe she'll really start to enjoy being a stud owner too!), but for now, we will have a partnership going. He will stay here in Humboldt for the most part, so he can be campaigned in endurance (maybe even a few open shows here and there too, but not even sure what is available anywhere near us in that regard). Now and then he'll probably head up to Canada for a season to breed Barb's mares or be available up in Canada for breeding. But those are all things we can work out over time. Right now, we are all basking in the glow of new horse ownership :)