Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do you think horses can get dark circles under their eyes?

Sam is in training! One of the ladies at the paddock is an instructor and she is helping me with Sam. For the next two weeks I am not allowed to ride him - she is riding him and does not want me to undo what she is trying to teach him. I asked her to ride him for me about a week ago know and really liked how quiet in the saddle she was but still asked firmly until he did the right thing then let the pressure off. I try to be there for his training sessions but sometimes Jane can only get out there while I am at work. We will taper it down so I will have lessons while she is still riding him. She works on the same principles as me so that is awesome.

I arrived at the paddock this afternoon to feed Sam and even walking to his paddock I could tell something was different - he was exhausted! He looked like he had dark circles under his eyes! Poor little thing. Under his eyes the grey was really dark! I know Jane wouldn't do more than he can cope with. I led him out to get another rug for him and he followed quietly - didn't try to to grab grass on the way. When I threw his lead rope over the gate to get his feed he dropped his head and snoozed instead of seeking out food.

I spoke to Malcolm (the owner of the property) to see if he saw Sam being worked and he said that it didn't look like Sam was ridden that hard. I didn't see Jane to see how the session went. Sam was happy to eat his dinner so I will see him in the morning and see if he has recovered.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If horses could actually speak english

The other afternoon Sam had a treat in that a pony was going to be in the paddock next to him for the next 24hrs. He is by himself with no horses around him - I don't like it but not much I can do. Anyway I thought I would but his hay halfway up the paddock so he would be able to see the pony while he ate. He followed me up the paddock and our conversation went something like this -

Me: Come on Sam
Sam: Just drop the hay mum, mum just drop the hay I'm starving here!!!!!!

I drop the hay and start to walk back down the paddock to the gate. Sam sniffs his hay and starts walking after me at a very fast pace

Sam: MUM!!!!!!!!! (whinny)
Me: Just eat your hay Sam and I will see you in the morning
Sam: MUM!!!!!!!! (whinny)

I stop and he stands in front of me just looking at me intensely

Me: Good night Sam slept tight don't let the bedbugs bite!!!!!!
Sam: No Mum you don't understand I can't eat my hay (whinny)

I start walking back down to the feed shed

Sam: MUM, MUM, MUM!!!!!!!!!! (whinny x3)
Me: OK good night Sam, I'm sorry but I have to go and eat my dinner now.
Sam: BUT MUM THE HAY IS YUCK!!!!!!! (long, strong, loud whinny)

while I am walking to my car I hear

Sam: MUM, MUM, MUM!!!!!!! (whinny x3)

When I went out the next morning to feed him most of the hay was still there. Very strange. Sam seemed fine, warm, noisy gut sounds, happy to graze when I let him out, normal amount of poos. When I gave him his morning hay I stood and watched him and he kept sniffing it, pushing it around and then he walked away again. I went back opened another bale and took up some more hay. This he tucked into straight away. I took the other hay away and threw on the manure pile there was obvious something wrong with it. So the night before he was trying to tell me!!!!! I felt so bad!!!!! If only he could say - Mum the hay is off! I will defiently listen more closely next time he tries to tell me something!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A huge few days

Where to start?!

Sunday started off ok and then we had a major cold snap. I reckon it dropped 15 degrees in 10min! Sam was rugged so I wasn't too worried. I went to see him in the afternoon and to have a ride. While I was grooming him I noticed that he was having a little trouble passing manure. I took him for a walk to see if that would help - nope. He didn't seem uncomfortable so I thought I would see how he would go under saddle. We had a good ride. Nothing extraordinary, Sam wanted to keep going back to the paddock but he didn't fight that hard. When we had finished I took him back, untacked him and he still had passed any manure. I had a look in his paddock and he had only passed manure 3 times in 10hrs - not good. The only thing I could think of was that he hadn't drunk enough water due to the cold snap. I made up large bucket of luke warm water and boy did he drink. Thank goodness. I went back to the paddock 2 hrs later and he had already passed manure 3 times in those two hours. I felt very relieved!!!!!!

Monday morning I started my new job. I landed a part time job as a patholgy typist and this week I have to work full time. So Monday I was a bit nervous and I rang the real estate agent to put an offer on a block of land we have been looking at. Driving to work and my phone rings, it is the real estate agent letting me know that our offer had been accepted!!!!!

Let me just recap the first 2 hours of Monday morning, Sam is ok, I started a new job, I bought a block of land!!!!!

So once the contract goes through we will be proud owners of 26 acres. It is flat with nothing on it. Boundary fence on two sides so planning, planting of trees, deciding on the plans for the house, sheds, stables, tack room, feed shed OMG sooooo many exciting things!!!!! I can't wait for the nightmare to begin. So I guess we won't move there for about another 18 months and it is a bit too far away to put Sam on there now so we have a good chance to do pasture improvements. I will keep you all up to date with ideas and of course I will be asking you all for your input!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Sam's birthday today. He has the reached the big one 0!!!!!!! Sam had a relaxing morning picking grass and eating carrots. He then lazed in the sun, rolled in the dirtest patch of dirt in his paddock and waited until I came out and we went for a walk and he picked grass for about 2 hours.

A big dinner once more full of carrots and some hay! I think he had a good day. 10! I can't believe he is there already and still sound. We really didn't think he would stay sound for the two years that he has been with us. I have a feeling he will be with us for a long time to come and I can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bonding Time

I didn't make it out to Sam at lunch time today but this afternoon when I got there he was at the gate looking hungry. I took him out for a walk and a pick. He walked with me nicely, head at my shoulder, stopping when I did, turn when I turned. We went up a lane way that we normally don't go so it was nice for him to listen. At the end of the lane way I let him have a pick before we walked up between two paddocks into a large open area. Something had him on alert out there but he didn't walk over the top of me and was happy to stand next to me. He prefers when he is like this for me to be lightly touching him somewhere. If I move my hand he normally turns his head and nudges me softly before looking back at whatever has his attention.

After letting him pick for about 30min I took him down to the riding area. I wanted to go down to one of the areas where he gets really tense. He was fine until we walked up the gully and he realised where we were. I had him on the lunge line so I let him go where ever he wanted to go. He marched around, snuffling, looking and finally grazing. I let him hang around for about 10min and then asked him further into the area where he gets tense. He refused. I just kept asking quietly and finally he walked up to me. We stood and looked around for a bit until he was comfortable to graze again.

On our way back to his paddock I lead him through a thick patch of trees. The footing was very soft and we had to duck our heads to walk through. Sam was very upset in here but he was very good and didn't jump on top of me even though I think he wanted to. When we came through and stopped I asked him to back up as he was on top of me - he was very clever and instead of just backing as that was making him go into a branch that was poking him he moved back but side ways. This was big because normally he would try and walk through me to get to a clearer area. We walked through this a few times until he seemed a bit more relaxed.

We stopped in the sun for a pick for another 10 - 15min to warm up (It is very chilly here today) I put him back in his paddock, rugged him and left him to go and get his feed. Now I found this very interesting. Normally he would stay in the corner watching me intensely waiting for his dinner if not calling as well. He walked off to the side and stood in a very relaxed manner, resting a leg!!!!!! (He rarely rests a hind leg because it used to hurt until the chiropractor came out and I have noticed him doing it a few times - not for long but still giving it a go!!!)

I might try that again tomorrow - just walking around his 'tense areas' It was good feeling that he listened to me and was able to chill for a bit.

Cranky Sam

This morning when I went to feed Sam he was a cranky bum! I made sure I was there on time. He was up the back of the paddock and when I called he came down. I gave him his treat which I do every morning and after that I made him walk with me so I could close all the gates so we didn't have a repeat of yesterday mornings escape!!!! His nostrils were pinched and he wasn't happy. I noticed one of his hooves was packed solid with mud so I picked his hooves out before I let him go to munch. He actually stood very still for this which was a little unusual because he didn't have a halter on and he wanted to start eating!

I left him for about an hour. I noticed that he watched me put his hay in his paddock and he started making his way slowly towards his paddock. I waited for him at the gate to make his way down, he snuffled my neck then kept going to his hay. I took his under rug off gave him a pat and let him be.

I might pop out at lunch time to see how he is - it is cold and miserable weather so maybe that is it I just hope he feels happy again soon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What Happened?

After a glorious ride yesterday today was dreadful. I am sure it was my mood that made Sam so naughty. I slept in this morning so I didn't get out to the paddock until 8.30am instead of 7 - 7.30am. I am normally very good with keeping routine so this would have upset Sam a lot especially when he hasn't got any pasture.

When I got there I let him out for his pick as usual (I let him pick while I pick up his manure in his paddock) Normally I let him out and then go and close all the gates so he can't go down the lane ways and disturb the other horses. This morning he walked out of his gate and then trotted down one on the lane ways which of course set about 10 horses off. He trotted up in between two paddocks and just put his head down and ate which was good and I think this must have started my bad mood. I caught him and let him have a pick for about 5min before leading him back up into the proper area. I let him go and cleaned his paddock. I left him out for about 30min while I got his saddle ready and got myself ready. He led down to the where I tack him up OK, no real fuss. We went through our normal routine of me asking Sam if I can brush him, pick out his hooves, put his boots on, saddle him, bridle him. He didn't reject anything. I decided to hop straight on today instead on lunging first. My plan was to go for a big walk and trot around the 30acres.

I led him down to the gate and he only stopped once. This is common he always stops on the way to any work area. I don't like it but I don't know how to rectify the problem. I led him through the gate and mounted. Off we went at a good walk, past a shallow dam and up onto a large flat area. There was a spring in his step and he was looking at the horses in the distance. I could feel he wanted to move out so I asked him to trot. It was a strong, powerful, extended trot that we did around this large area - about 10 acres. His head was up, he was a bit tense but listened to me when I asked him to come back a bit. We came back to walk and walked over to the far fence line and followed it down at a relaxed walk. We walked past the area we normally work and on the other side of the arena is where he is always a little more forward.

He actually broke into a trot by himself which is NOT NORMAL! I bought him back to walk using my voice and seat which he listened too. I then said OK if you would like to trot I am happy to under my conditions. I wanted a 40m circle, even paces, listening to me. We had none of that, falling in and then out, speed up, speed up, speed up. I asked him back to a walk and walked back up to the area where we normally work. I felt him relax as we walked away from that area and back into his 'work area' I asked back into a trot in our work area and he went well. I was comfortable enough to ask him to canter so we did a huge, probably 80m circle on a very light contact, head was low, even breathing just beautiful. I used my voice to ask him to come back to a walk which he did within 5 strides. This is normal if it means slowing down he is generally happy with that.

We walked around another area that has a lot of logs and tyres and he had a really good look at everything. Then we headed back the way we came, over the to far fence, through the gully into the other large area. He seemed relaxed to me and I wanted to have another trot in this area. I thought he was going to buck!!!!! He was tense, rigid, we walked on until he felt relaxed again, again once I had that feeling I asked for trot and this time the tension that came through his back was too much for me and I jumped off straight away. Growled a bit at him and asked him out on the lunge, trotted out fine. I mounted up again and again he became very anxious. I walked him back to the gate and I was going to work him in then round yard instead but I thought maybe there was pain again.

Why did he get so upset in areas? Was it because I wasn't in the best of moods today and maybe I was a little rougher, not as soft? Was he still really sore? I am sure a lot of the good work Koko did has come undone with the hooning around the paddock and he slips occasionally in the big area when we hit cow pats.

I am not going to ride tomorrow. I think I will take him for a walk and work him in hand in the areas that he seemed to get really tense. Ponies?!!!!! You just have to love them even when they annoy you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Healing Powers of Sam

Sam has been doing well lately. I think he has undone all the good work Koko did but he has been working well. Saturday morning I made a quick decision to ride when I there feeding him breakfast and he decided he was going to be a 'typical thoroughbred'. Very unlike him. It was cool, drizzling weather so I lunged him first. Got a few good bucks out of him then I jumped on board. He was very forward but after a bit he was listening well and I was able to really move his shoulders in the trot which I was really impressed about.

Now more about Sams great healing powers. Jodi - My best friend - came out to ride Sam today. Jodi has done a lot of riding in the past - she used to do endurance riding and has completed a few Quilty rides - for those who don't know what the Quilty is it is a 160km ride. She hasn't ridden for about 5 years so felt a little rusty.

We started out in the round yard. I jumped on walk, trot and cantered him to show Jodi how quiet he is then it was her turn. Jodi and Sam walked around for about 10min
Jodi felt comfortable enough to ride Sam down to the large riding paddock. Once down there she decided to have a trot. On a large circle off they went. Then a change of rein. Sam falls in a lot on the right rein and I am not that good at communicating at what I do when he does this so there was a little miss communication between the two and Sam popped into a bouncy canter. Jodi stayed calm, Sam did a flying change and Jodi did well at bringing him back. They walked around some more and then I got Jodi to trot on his good rein again just to make sure she was ok.

This is a little something Jodi wrote about her ride - you know that thing that some people have that they just love ever since they were little, then they did it for a while, then they had to get a job/career so they had to stop it for a while, but your life still feels like there is a little hole in it somewhere, then a friend comes along that just helps you find it again and fill that hole?? Well I found that again today thanks to my best friend! Oh and her horse Sam.

I love it when Sam helps heal. He helps me all the time and I can't thank him enough!!!!!