Friday, October 21, 2016

Holding Out On Me

Before our trip to Florida, I wanted to try the new bit on Roscoe. Unfortunately my Dad brought home a cold bug from my cousin's wedding and shared with us. I was low on energy and Roscoe was totally lazy. I really want him cantering better and tried to use a pole to help with the transition, but it was not successful.
Fancy Boy!
I looked up to see my Mom coming armed with a lunge whip. Awhile ago I asked her to ask Roscoe to canter from the ground while I was mounted. Watching Alanna and Emi work and quickly progress gave me ideas. Supported by seeing others use the same method with young horses. We used ground support when we started him, but did not go as far as canter.

From when he was first backed
Roscoe saw Mom and he knew what was expected. I literally could feel the change in him. His attention went from me to her. I kept him on a circle while Mom directed him to trot both ways. Then the moment came and she asked for canter. Holy Cow! I needed a seat belt. That was the best canter I have ever felt out of him. It was a bit frightening, especially when he headed for the mounting block. I had a hard time just being a passenger. I stopped so Mom could clear the path before changing directions. This time we went left, his harder direction. I relaxed more and could enjoy the awesome pony working below me. Roscoe kept himself on a circle around Mom and picked up left lead. If he began to look flat, Mom tapped the whip and he reanimated. I finally felt the movement we so often see in him at liberty.
I was missing the western saddle this ride
I also realized he has been holding out on me. Before this, I worked really hard to only get a quarter of what he gave during this ride. We have to teach him that he is capable of that super movement. Over time we will transition from the ground support directing him to me asking. I gave small cues when Mom asked for stuff to start that process. Overall the process worked better than I expected and was eye opening. I can't wait to ride him again. Forward, real forward is the goal.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lucky Buys

Over the last six months I have had a few lucky buys. The first had my jaw dropping.

Back in February I saw a notice about a sale on an Amigo blanket. I clicked on the link for expecting the typical $50 off or other minor discount. What I found was a mid weight Amigo Bravo 12 selling for under $60. That was over $100 off the normal price then and now the regular price is $229.95. Even though it was not a blanket I would normally buy, I clicked to order one. At that price it was worth trying. At one point I thought I lost the sale when I went to ask my Mom her opinion. They were sold out, but luckily one was still in my cart. Six weeks later I received the blanket in a size that will work on 4 of my horses.
Amigo Bravo 12 plus mid weight 250gm photo from Country and Stable

So when I saw a sale on blankets at the same site, I looked further. This time I choose a Pessoa Light Turnout Sheet that was selling for $45. That price could not be passed up. At check out, I scored an additional 15% off. Roscoe is now wearing a really light, great purple sheet. He is so narrow I had to knot the surcingles, but otherwise the sheet fits him well. Country and Stable is one I will keep an eye on for future blanket sales.

Just the other day, Mom and I went shopping for things we will need for Ember when he arrives. We had no luck at the first store finding those items, but I found a Full Cheek three piece sweet copper bit in the markdown area. Once we verified it was dressage legal I decided to buy it for Roscoe, who has not been thrilled with the rubber mullen mouth full cheek. Regular price was $84.99 and the markdown was $59.50. When I got to the register the cashier said there was an additional discount, so the bit ended up being $47.60. Everything I bought that day was less than the original price. Definitely meant to be. Roscoe took the bit right away when I tried it on him. Pony approved.

Peggy also had a lucky buy when she purchased a Marathon Wagonette for a price that saved her nearly $1300. It needs some work, but overall is a great carriage. Plus with a purchase of a team pole, we can start the path to driving a pair. The best part is it seats six people and is great for the dogs too. It came with a not so great plastic harness that can serve as a back up to the two leather harnesses.
Deliah said she wanted her drive

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Foal Updates

Baby Royal has one picture of her at the National so far. I can't help but see Roscoe in her expression :)
Castleberrys Royalty and her dam Rosina

Hopefully there will be more photos to follow since her handler is a photographer. She took an amazing shot of Mini Me that I may ask to use in Roscoe's advertisement. See the picture here.

Then the beginning of this month the oldest and youngest foals left for Canada. They look like they travelled well and are nicely settled with their yearling Sec C buddy. PC Jen Robertson for all the following pictures.
 Castleberrys Debonair getting air time

Castleberrys Ffrewyn keeping stride
Built different but can still see the relation

Think they like chrome?

3 cute ponies.

And in 16 days, Ember will be home in Virginia. I can't wait! We are prepping for that trip and our FL trip which will be back to back. Hopefully baby boy will handle the long drive.

I really hope Mini Me and Baby Royal find their way to show homes where they too can shine. Both have such great presence.

Product Review: Hands On Grooming Gloves

I tend to be very basic in what I need for daily grooming. Give me a curry and a mixed brush and I am good to go. So when Peggy pulled out these Hands On Grooming Gloves, I  was not in a rush to try them. Plus unless it is winter or a horse show, I am not someone who wears gloves.

From Schneiders website

So Peggy tried them out and the horses loved them, but I was still not reaching for them.
Fast forward to the past couple of weeks when we have had rain which brought mud. Mud produces extremely dirty horses especially since we have taken off fly sheets. If I wanted to ride, I had to get through the mud to find my horses. Since mud is a hard thing to groom off certain places, I decided to give the gloves a chance.
Muddy horse who is suppose to be grey

Here is what I found:

- I only used one glove and had my brush in the other hand. When needed I could hold the brush with the glove covered hand.

- I was able to groom through the mud much quicker and more thoroughly then with a normal curry.

- The  hard to reach areas, between front legs, elbows, behind ears, fetlocks, hocks, were no problem with the glove

- The horses love the "Hands On" grooming since it mimics a good scratch and massage. I sometimes had to wake them up after a session.

- My hand was not tired from using this glove.

- The glove stayed in place.

- The glove design allows for good movement, definitely not awkward.

After the first use, these gloves have become my go to tool to cut through mud and building winter coats.

Mom has used them on the dogs, corgi and german shepherd, and removed a ton of hair. Always good to be able to use on multiple animals.

I have not tried them wet, though the are advertised as wet/dry. The small fit well for me. If you have really small hands, they could feel super spacious. They also talk about saving your manicure, but since I do so much more than grooming at the barn, I can't comment to the effectiveness in that area.

Cost wise, they run about $25 for a pair. In my barn with multiple people grooming at one time, a pair lets two people have a great tool. Worth the price for the ease of grooming. And for me to say that about gloves is a big recommendation, since I am a not a glove fan and I am a penny pincher.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bring On The Diapers

I have had three great rides on the Cobs this week, but unfortunately when Mom joined me on Winston, he was lame. I think in the 10 years we have had him he has only been lame twice, once with gravel and then laminitis. He was definitely lame at the trot. Peggy checked for any stones, nope. Thought maybe he had a touch of thrush, nope. We narrowed it done to the right front and once I finished my ride I looked at his foot. I cleared the sand and looked closely. Sure enough I saw a bruise and a tap with the hoof pick brought a reaction from Winston.
Well if your a horse owner you know that means foot soaking. Our previous vet showed us how to do a longer term soak by using a plastic bag, padding, Epsom Salt and Iodine. As long as the horse does not bust through the layers it can last a couple of days.

Step 1: Clean the hoof
Bruise is at the upper right

Step 2: Place the padding in water to soak or add water to the diaper, Prep materials
Tape, snow pad w/tape ready, gallon bag, diaper with salt and iodine

Step 3: Add Epsom Salt and Iodine  to the padding once out of water

Step 4: Place padding on the hoof and place a bag over the hoof
I could even use the diaper tabs to secure

Step 5: Vet wrap over the bag, remove as much air from bag so the horse does not bust it just putting the hoof down

Step 6: Use heavy duty tape over the whole set up, extra at the toe

Other than the fact that vets make wrapping tape around a hoof look way easier than I ever find it to be, the process is quick and easy (if your horse is as cooperative as Winston).

I added an old snow pad to protect the bottom this time, but we have also used cut up cardboard. Hopefully Winston will feel better in a couple of weeks. This is the second horse I know to get a bruise in the last few weeks. Fingers crossed no one else falls victim.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Baby Royal Rules The Ring

This year they live streamed the Welsh National Show and I was able to watch some of the classes Castleberry Cobs competed in. Unfortunately traffic kept me from seeing Baby Royal in her own class, but I did see her during Rosina's class. She has super presence in the ring and her movement is awesome. Not too surprising since Rosina and Roscoe are both proven winners in the breed ring.
What was great was that she received Champion Filly from the UK judge. I loved seeing her in the champion position during the Grand Champion Cob class. I was glad to see Lisa's breeding program receive the accolades it deserves. She puts a lot of time and thought into each pairing and champions are born.

PC Mandy Brezina, Glad she got a picture, my phone was charging from my earlier live watching

Roscoe at his first show
Baby Royal even pulled the "I want a milk break" in the show ring like Roscoe did at his first show. Who ever is lucky enough to own this girl will get an awesome show pony.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Green and Vintage

Picture taking boring, Stained glass interesting
After riding Connor and having my revelations about my right shoulder, I rode Roscoe to work on that point. The first ride was more of an energy burning, "I will outlast you," "you will listen" and "we will finish on a good note if it kills me" five year old, green pony kind of ride. Thank you first cooler day of the summer. I made him canter since he had so much energy. For once I did not have to work really hard to get the transition. He did include a few bucking comments, but I just pushed him on. Lot's of lateral moving of the feet later... I finally had a thinking, working pony. But it was not a ride to work on me at all. So the next day I rode him again.
This time he went right to work. He seemed to sense that the ride was not about him directly and gave me his lazy trot. I let him within reason. Meanwhile, I used the whip to place across my thumbs after making sure my reins were even. This gave me a more visual cue if my shoulder drifted. As Roscoe and I awkwardly continued on I could begin to see a difference in him. He also slowed down because oh yeah he was working correctly, ie, harder. By restricting myself, I placed boundaries for him to work within. And by focusing on me, I left him to figure out himself how to handle those boundaries. Roscoe amazes me sometimes with his problem solving and situational awareness. The answers he found were the right ones. He relaxed his neck, reached into the contact and began to travel a straighter path. I purposely kept my reins slightly longer, but he found the contact.
I really need to get out of his way more often and maybe he will fix himself :)
By the end of that ride, I could drop the inside rein and ride with just the outside. Roscoe was starting to figure out how to carry himself and not counter bend. He is still far away from perfect carriage, but the blocks for a solid base are developing.
Someone is getting more solid too
"Let's Go"
Not many days after that ride, I had thought to ride Roscoe again but my oldest decided to act cranky. Last time DaVinci acted that way, Peggy rode him and we had a few days of happier pony. So I tacked him up and actually worked him in the arena. DaVinci would prefer to walk the trails, but he is still fun to play with in the arena. If you ask him for shoulder in, half pass, walk pirouettes and haunches in, you can gain his attention. His trot is super bouncy now that his back has dropped, convincing me to try a walk to canter transition. So I set him up with a shoulder in and then asked for the depart. At 28 years old, with no work in months, vintage DaVinci stepped smoothly into a wonderful canter. I love that I can play when I ride DaVinci. His right lead is his tougher side, but he still managed an above average depart. He had a happy swish to his tail as we left the arena after working about 20 minutes.
Stand about as well as Roscoe
While I won't work Dottie and DaVinci in the heat and crazy humidity, they do get worked to maintain some old pony muscle. I want them to be able to get up for a while longer. Plus they both still have so much to offer. When I need a break from riding my green boy, the vintage boy is always refreshing. As long as they are happy and able to work, they will be on the roster.
I always find it a sad fact of the horse world that vintage horses are under appreciated. I know everyone is not as lucky as we are to be able keep them, but I still feel bad for the horses. Having a mix of young and old keeps the herd active and the dynamics are fun to watch. I can't wait to see how Ember integrates.

Even vintage ponies prefer to eat grass