Sunday, August 2, 2009

Interesting Weekend

The last few days were really busy for us. On Friday I think Amy and I set some kind of record for efficiency. By 10am we had fed everyone breakfast, done stalls, filled water troughs, brought in all of the horses that were seeing the farrier that day and had bathed four horses, including conditioning manes and tails. I'm not sure how we did it because I never felt like I was rushing or in a hurry. We finished up with four more baths, tidying up some manes and some chatting with the farrier.

On Saturday after morning chores were done I loaded up Sky and Lexi on the trailer. Lexi made the short trip over to the farm where Amy will be working with her. It is a small, mostly private facility that has a very relaxed atmosphere. The barn was cute, the paddocks were well maintained with good grass in them and it was very quiet. Lexi will love it there and I am happy that Amy will be riding and Lexi will be getting what she needs for her rehab.

Sky and I then carried on to Percy Warner Park where the cross country course was open for schooling. I didn't go with the intent of jumping since I haven't really jumped her at home yet. I just wanted to see how she would act and introduce her to some of the natural obstacles like banks, ditches and the water jump.

She showed me what a saint she can be soon after we arrived. I was making my way to the cross country course, much of which is in the huge infield of the steeplechase course. There were a couple of small warm-up fences near the gates to go into the infield. I saw someone coming towards one of them and she didn't look like she had much control so I stayed outside the gates and waited for her to jump the fence and then pull up. I'll probably get flamed for saying this but I see the scariest riding I've ever seen when I go to these cross country schooling days each year. I see a lot of half out of control horses jumping in very bad, unsafe form (lots of hanging legs and such) and it just makes me cringe to see it all. I hold my breath and hope the horses make it safely to the other side and thankfully they mostly seem to find their magical "fifth leg" and scramble over.

Anyway, this person has to whack! whack! whack! her horse with her crop to get him over this 12" verticle, and then lands completely out of control on the landing side. I kept waiting for her to attempt to pull him up before I went through the gates. Well, she never pulled up and then her horse suddenly veered out through the gates and slammed into me and Sky. I still can't believe it happened given how far away from her I was and that I was on the other side of the fence!! Sky was a saint about it and although obviously unhappy about what just happened she stood quietly while I praised her profusely. The rider didn't even apologize but just cranked on her garden implement of a bit and whipped her horse around and repeated the whole exercise in the other direction. I thought briefly about reporting her to the organizers for extremely unsafe riding but then decided to just carry on and avoid her. The course is huge so staying away wouldn't be a problem.

In hindsight I wonder if I should have reported her as it might have prevented her later crash. Yet again she was overfacing her poor horse trying to make him jump a barrel jump. He kept refusing and so she went to the crop again, and this time he tried to run out but didn't get his front legs out of the way in time. He ended up catching both of his front legs on the jump as he tried to pop his shoulder and go around it, and this is a cross country jump that doesn't fall down. He completely lost his balance and because of his forward momentum flipped over and landed on top of her. Thankfully both she and her horse were ok. I got off of Sky and helped catch her loose horse. Just as with the running into me incident there was no thank you for helping to catch her horse. Thankfully she called it a day at that point and stopped trying to jump this horse. Sky was great and went into the water jump twice, went up and down the little bank and went over the ditch. When I got home and was telling Jason about the incident even he made the comment that he hates it when I go to these cross country schooling days because so many of the riders are so scary.

Sunday started off as one of those days where you wish you hadn't bothered to get out of bed. It was just a lot of stupid little things that kept happening but when added up make you really frustrated. The climax was when I went to drag my arena and my DR Power Grader failed me. You use a hand-held remote to raise and lower the grader and when I got to the ring and pushed the button to lower it down nothing happened. So I tried the up button and nothing happened again. So like an idiot I kept pushing the up and down buttons waiting for something to happen but it never did (I have to point out here that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result). I'm hoping it is something simple like the battery in the remote needs to be replaced but I decided I couldn't deal with any more and will worry about it another day. Thankfully the day improved significantly after its aggravating start. Jason worked hard all weekend with another round of bush hogging and the pastures look wonderful. I am running a few days behind on pictures so you can see the freshly mown pastures probably by Friday, maybe I'll throw a few in sooner!

Norman surveying his kingdom from the entrance of the barn
Teddy and Slinky. Slinky is a large pony and specialized in the pony equitation classes.
A typical scene
Jason scrubbing the cow water trough. I scrub the horse troughs almost every day but the cow trough only gets done once a week. It is a 300 gallon tank (the six pet cows drink a lot of water!) and it is a pain to scrub it. As Jason demonstrates here the easiest way is to just get in the trough and scrub away. Everyone tries to come up with a reason why they can't be the one to scrub the cow trough, we all hate doing it. Somehow I get stuck with it the most!
Jo climbed on top of the brush pile while Mina watched
Traveller enjoying a nice grooming session. Traveller is also a large pony and was champion at some prestigious shows like the Washington International Horse Show.
Baby coming down the hill. Baby's sire is the wonderful hunter stallion Jupiter. Baby is probably the most beautiful hunter mover I have ever seen and his owners tell me he was never beaten in an under saddle class. My jaw dropped the first time I saw him trot along through the field, and everyone who gets the chance to see him really move has the same reaction as I did.
More happy grazers
Ogie, Winston and Trillion


Anonymous said...

Norman does look quite regal!

I am so glad neither you nor Sky were injured. Some people are just loonies and best avoided (not that you weren't trying to stay out of her way). It always makes me sad to see horses mishandled that way. Don't people understand that you can't teach a horse to jump by making him afraid of jumps and jumping? Sigh. She's very lucky that neither she nor her horse were seriously injured, although I'll bet that poor horse is out of whack now physically and you can bet he'll really be afraid of jumping now.

I've never thought of getting into the water trough to scrub it - may give that a try!

Anonymous said...

hey have you ever thought of just getting alge eater fish? they WORK AWESOME !! ALSO GOLDFISH DO TOO ;];]; surer saves on scrubbing and they winter fine in the tanks ;];];]

Jen said...

Melissa, do you think you could do a post with tips on pulling manes? I know the general idea, but mine never look as great as yours! My Thoroughbred has this incredibly thick, unruly mane (which currently is a big mohawk!) & I have the darndest time getting it to look even passable. Thanks!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Jen - I am the LAST person you want mane pulling tips from - I am terrible at it! But thank you for the compliment as it made my day! What happens is I just go back and keep cleaning up the mess I created a few times and then it finally ends up looking half decent. For the tough manes I usually beg Amy to work on them. Maybe I can coerce her into writing a post with some good tips. I love the look of a neat mane but I am not so hot at actually producing it!

Anonymous said...

There is a product called copper sulfate you can buy at most feedmills or car repair stores you throw couple handfulls of that in and you wont have to clean your tank as often it kills the algea and moss etc that grows in tank it is a salt of sort. Our soils are low on copper here in northeast colorado so helps the cattle as well. Do Not use where goats can drink as to much copper is bad for goats!!!!!!!!!!