Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Sleep over

Everyone should have a pony in their back yard, right? And everyone should have a pony like mine. He is such a good boy, which was why I was able to bring him home for an overnight stay. 

I was taking him to the vet since he seems to have some swelling or a growth on his urethra. It has dripped blood on his back legs and can't be comfortable so we were going for another opinion. 

I have been giving him antibiotics in hopes of killing off whatever is causing this but that wasn't working so we will go see the vet. 

Since the vet office opens early in the morning and its closer to the house than the barn, he came home to stay the night. Let me just say he did not tear up the grass and never once let out a sound. 

My biggest concern was that he would end up in the pool. My pony has the kind of personality that I could definitely see him doing it. But actually when I got in the pool after he was settled and everything unloaded, he was concerned and watching but didn't freak out or bolt.

When I swam laps and went towards him- the kicking and splashing got him all wild eyed and he took a few steps back to get away but still keep his eye on things... All in all it was like having a big, goofy dog in the yard. 

The good news is that everything checked out at the vet. She said it looks like a 'summer sore', keep the area soaked with fly spray, gave me some kind of blue concoction to put on it twice daily. She also said to worm him with Ivermectin every 10 days for 3 treatments.

As everyone can guess, he was eating up all the attention. Everyone noticed him, wanted to pet him, admired him and commented on how well behaved he is, how quiet, he's probably spoiled (absolutely!) and couldn't believe his age. Even the lady at the front desk had to go out back to see him. He loved every minute of it. Of course he did. Because he's Katman! 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Quiet please

Sometimes it is not often we get to see our horses laying down, let alone sleeping. Kat does eithrer one as it pleases him. Life as it should be. 
The other day the turnouts were all in use so I couldn't put mine out while I cleaned stalls. As I worked on my mare's stall, I noticed he kept laying down. He's not one to colic so I kept an eye on him just in case. Knock on wood, my little man has not colicked once in the 20 years I've had him and yes that sounds weird that I have had him that long. 
He would lay there for a while, get up and adjust his position and then lay down again for another 5 minute power nap. At one point he was completely flat out on his side. I tried to get a pic of that but he heard me fidgeting with my phone and moved so I didn't get the shot.  
But obviously it wasn't long before his eyes closed and he was right back out again. He's one of those ponies that if he could, I swear he would snore and it would be cute if he did. He's got such a fun personality.  

Saturday, November 10, 2018

As if....

Let's face it. Everyone loves my pony. And why not? His color and build makes him stand out everywhere we go. When people get around him and get to know his personality, he's totally in his element. Kat loves attention and plays it up to get it from whoever he can.

Naturally when we changed barns a few months ago, he has again been the center of attention. Part of this is because there are a few families at the barn with kids. The kids adore him and he adores them too, but he is not a 'kids pony' in any sense of the words. You might be asking "What does she mean by that?"

Kat has always been good around kids from the time he was a baby. When I bought him all those years ago, we figured his age was around 6 months old. My daughter was still young and would go in his stall armed with a brush and a hoof pick. She had this thing about cleaning hooves and he would stand there patiently while she did each one. He soaked it all in while she brushed him head to toe.

Last week at the barn I was approached by one of the women that boards there. I have yet to figure out why she even has a horse. She has other boarders feed him, turn him out, bring him in and she only cleans his stall when he's not in it. She also doesn't ride him so the horse has quite the easy life when you think about it.

She told me that the kids at the barn would love it if I brought the cart out and drove them all around on it. I told her that's exactly why I DON'T bring it out. She looked at me a little puzzled by that statement. Then she starts asking if he is trained to be ridden and if I have a saddle for him? No and No. I have had kids on him and while he never did anything wrong, he has made it clear every time that he didn't really care for the idea, so that's that.

Her last statement on the idea was that "It's to bad the kids at the barn don't get to play with your pony, ride him and enjoy him."

I just agreed with her that "Yes, it's too bad." There's no point in going any further in the discussion with someone like that. He's my pony and Kat has more than earned his keep. If I never drive him again (which is up to me) and all he does is eat and shit to live out his days, so be it.

My friend from the last barn was asking "Why is it all of a sudden Your responsibility to entertain everyone else's kids? He's a competition pony, not a kids pony! Obviously she's clueless. Besides that, Kat is such a cool pony because of all the work and training you put into him. Why let them ruin that and him? "

I'm sure she will try suggesting this again. When she does, I'm just going to flip the conversation on her. If she thinks the kids at the barn should have a horse to ride and enjoy- Why don't she let them use hers? Besides- their parents each have a horse, why aren't they riding them?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Picking up where we left off...

After not being hitched for almost 5 months, I took my cart to the barn and put my little man to. How did he do, you ask? He rocked it of course!  What else would he do????

Obviously I didn't get any picks while driving so I will add those from ground driving a few nights ago.

Of course we started out walking on the lunge line. This allows him to loosen up before asking much more of him. Since all we were doing is long line work, he is only wearing the harness saddle. 

He has loosened up and is starting to overstep at the walk. After a few laps around like this is when I ask him to jog or trot. When he loosens up in the trot and there is a noticeable change in his gait, I will either let him stop or if he's feeling good, I will allow him to lope.  

He's sporting hs new boots... The blue string is baling twine holding the tugs to the saddle. This way if I ned to run the lines thu them, there isn't as much swing and the line stays close to his side. 
Now that he's in the lines, he tries to give me some grief. Because he's like that and he can. lol  While his head is up and he's not on the bit or in the bridle (on or behind the verticle), he is finding his balance and driving up under himself from behind. He is gaping at the mouth in protest as I start asking him to bend. We are back to doing long line work wearing the snaffle- in the beginning we switched away from this because he was putting his tongue over the bit. 

He has started to drive up under himself and lift his shoulders. not quite breaking over at the poll, yet, but he's getting there. 

And sometimes even when they are moving in balance, their head is up and their nose in front of the vertical. 

He's starting to reach out and extend and also soften his jaw and relax. Here he's in a nice woking trot. Soft in the bridle, relaxed and trucking along. We have stopped and changed direction, picking up the trot again. He is relaxed and forward again in a nice working trot. And he gets a little resistant again... fussing and trying to see what he can get away with, because he does this at times. Some horses and ponies do this all the time, where others try once or twice, give in and that's it. This is his way of expressing himself. My mare turns her head to the side and does this weird thing with her mouth. One of the things about working with horses is to recognize their subtleties. They all have these little ways of showing us they like or don't like something.  We as their owners or trainers need to learn what they are and when they do it. It can prevent a big mess later on. And within a stride or two he softens, giving to the bit and going forward again.  The head has come up a little again, but he's moving forward like he should. He's reaching up under himself and making use of the bell boots with the overreaching.  He's such a handsome little bugger.  😁And since we started out talking abut driving, it's only right that the post finishes on that. We did some walking, trotting and also loping, both directions of course. Our upward transitions were easy to get and the downward transitions came just as easily. I have always told my Little Man, "Bring it down to the trot" and he does it so effortlessly. Then I tell him "Easy" and he slows the jog, "Bring it down to the walk" and Boom! He gives it to me with nothing further.  A few soft whups and then whoooaaa and he shuts it Down. Most of the time I don't even get to the whoa because he has already shut it down. He knows it's coming next. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

More pics

Who doesn't like seeing a lot of good pics of a horse? When it's your own horse, they're even better. But when it's your horse that you've not only raised, but also trained- they're the best.

These are a bit blurry, but you can still see the lift, suspension and extension in his movement. I was lunging my little guy the other day and he was really moving like a little Rock Star. And I'm still always amazed by my Katman.




Bell boots are a must because he overreaches 

He's so goofy

Sadly enough, this was the last time he would wear his Roma open front jump boots. After 6 years of a lotta use, scubbing, an alteration to make them fit bettier and having the straps replaced twice- they have split up the back and are literally falling apart. Sadly enough since they are no longer available in white, I have to go with another brand. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

1000's of words

A picture is worth a thousand words and at the show there were obviously people taking pictures. People with their cell phones, people with their pro camera set ups, complete with an assortment of lenses. I managed to get a short clip of video of a couple with their pair of Friesians as they went cruising across the grass by the pond. I was hoping to get them at the canter but by the time I got the camera phone going I was only able to get the trot. They've shown in AZ before and their actually from Round Top.

The lady parked next to us had the only entry for Long Ears, a mini Donkey called Nick. Sally's friend Amy Wink a fellow driver, was there taking pictures and got a few of us. With her permission I share them here....

Nick with Kat in the bakground. Nick is clearly a mini and he is such a friendly little guy. 
I think this was before the ladies to drive class

This is one of my faves-

Always a clown

Between classes

Trying to entertain himself

Waiting for our class

Not sure which class this was

Can we focus? You know, Inside the ring... lol

Walk please...

Really not sure what we're doing here, but we were trotting at least.

And reverse 

Saving the best for last......

This pic is defiinitely going to be printed and framed if I ever get the chance 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Pot O' Gold- Games

The show was to be a fun show and learning experience so they had a couple of cones classes and a 'Pleasure Drive/ Marathon' class, which turned out to be more of a Marthon Pace type of class.

Of course we entered these! That's a no brainer considering our past performances and how my little man loves games classes. There have been shows before, where we did okay or even tanked in the main ring, went out to the cones courses, taken our fustrations out on those and got it out of our system- winning those classes pretty easily and boosting our spirits again......

In a typical competition, they measure the widest part of your cart and depending on what level you're showing at- depends on how close the cones are set. Beginner/Training Level is set pretty wide and it is trotting only. As you move up to Prelim, Intermediate and Advanced- the cones are moved closer in and you're allowed to run. As an attempt to keep things fair for everyone, they limited us to trotting only and they did not measure our carts or move the cones at all. The cones were set at 2 meters wide and since my cart is just over 1 meter in width- I had plenty of room to work.

Fault and Out is just as it sounds. There was a course of 10 cones, you must take them in order in the right direction and you get 2 points per cone. You do the course until you knock down a ball. When you knock a ball down, you continue on thru the next cone where your time will stop. You will get points for the last cone. You are allowed 2 minutes and if you make it thru all 10, you start thru them again and keep going until your time runs out and they blow the whistle.

This was the course for Fault and Out. Kat & I made it thru the course once and started back thru it again. We were making the turn back around to line up for cone 7 when the whistle blew. At 2 points per cone, yeah we pretty much killed it. 

Your Route My Route is a bit more fun. Your Route is listed on the map.There are another 10 cones that must be taken in order, in the right direction. Once you go thru the last cone- It's game on! The portion for My Route- is open to interpretation. You have to go thru the 10 cones again, but... You can take them in any order, in any direction, but you can only go thru them each once. The start/finish line is 'live' the whole time, which means you go thru it to start and stop your time only and must be driven the right direction also.

Your Route My Route? Well I had a plan when I went in..... Coming out of cone 10, I thought I would circle around to the left picking off cones 7 & 6, going back across thru cone 4, down to cone 1 and 2. Make a hard left and get cone 8, change rein to make a right and go thru cone 9, another right to go get cone 3 and down to the rail, make a left and pick up cone 5 then left to finish with cone 10 and thru the finish line. 
What really happened? Coming off of cone 6, I went thru cone 9 instead of cone 4 because they were actually a bit closer together and I got a bit confused. (I blame it on our speed and driver error. lol) Thinking on the fly is something you have to be able to do in times like this so I figured I would 'flip' the order' of the two cones. I took 9 instead of 4 so where I would've taken 9- I took 4 instead and still picked them all up.  The Pleasure Drive/ Marathon class was more of a Hunter Pace. There is a course distance with an "Optimal Time" which is not disclosed. There was 2 'hazards' with 4 gates each that you had to go thru in the right order, in the right direction. Your job as the driver is to navigate the course from start to finish and try to come as close to the Optimal Time allowed. If you're going the right speed, you will hit it without issue.The correct 'speed' for ponies to be traveling was 12kph. I'm not sure what that works out to be for us and since I know we almost always get 'dinged' on time for being too fast, I decided to change it up some. There was a hill on the course and across the top of it as it went around the lake- the footing was not the best conditions. For this I allowed Katman to walk. Since it was up on the hill and pretty much right in the middle of the property, it was visible to all. Which meant that pretty much everybody seen us walking and when we got back in, there were plenty of people asking about it. We managed to stay in the ribbons and tied for 3rd. So how did we do? Well of course we smoked everything in the two cones classes. That was pretty much a given and came as expected. Trying to keep things fair by setting the cones wide, really wasn't all that fair in a way because for anyone who has done cones before- it made it hella easy to speed things up. It took off all the pressure of having to be a bit more accurate in leaving the balls up. While everyone else was doing a normal, working trot, we were doing a very extended trot almost the entire time. Kat did break gait and go into a canter a few times, but you are allowed 5 strides to get them back to a trot without being penelized. Fun fact- If driving a pair or multiples, if one horse  breaks gait but the other horse remains steady and trots the entire time, you don't get penelized.  Our efforts for the weekend got us 2 blue ribbons (1st place), 2 yellow ribbons (3rd) and 1 white ribbon (4th). Not a bad haul for a hella lot of fun.