Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I finally made it out to see the boys again today ... first time since last Sunday. I do need to post a photo of Gus's hooves from last week. But I'll get to that some other time.

I worked with Gringo first today. He was sound as a dollar. Which was amazing. What wasn't amazing was his attention span. It was completely, 100% lost. Gone. Oh well. After w/t/c/whoa on the lunge, we did some ground driving. The ground driving is going REALLY REALLY well. Gringo willingly does 10m-15m circles along with 3-loop serpentines without any issues. Seems like our "problems" are on the lunge again. All Gringo wanted to do today was canter, canter, canter. Definitely need to work on that.

Gus was a good trooper today as well. I opted to not lunge him, for the sake of sparing myself another 15 minutes of going in circles. End the end, it didn't seem to make a huge difference. We started with shoulder stretches at the walk and then proceeded to do 10m spiral circles. Basically, you start at F (or K, M, H) and do a half circle, then on the centerline you change the bend and go the other direction. At the rail you move up the the next letter, rinse and repeat. That exercise really helped Gus work on his bending and suppling ... so I'd call it a success.

Trot work consisted of big 20m figure-8s, followed up with some 3-loop serpentines. Gus was good boy and I was feeling fairly well, so I opted for some canter work. Pretty boring canter work. Just 15m to 20m circles at each major letter, once around the arena. We had a really nice, up and forward right lead that was to die for. Granted, I'm sure B would've had a lot to say about it but I was happy with Gus's willingness to move forward and outward.

Nothing else to really report except that I desperately need to get those photos uploaded. I think I'll try to get some new shots of the boys tomorrow as well, seeing as I need to head back out to the barn again. Anyways, til later ...

Happy Holidays and stay WARM!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

No reserve ...

Well, yesterday was Wednesday, so of course that means today is Lesson Recap day.

To begin with, Gringo's new blanket liner came in over the weekend so I was finally able to get out and try it on him. It's very similar to the blanket liners I love from Schneider's Tack (see the Adjusta-Fit Nylon liners ... they are AMAZING) but this liner is from Chick's Saddlery. The only reason why I ordered from Chicks was I already ordering some hay nets for the MIL from there (they were cheaper then through Dover). Needless to say, the blanket fits perfectly and secures nicely with surcingles and leg straps.

Gringo is still floating around in just his heavyweight Masta. This liner will most likely be used under his Centaur sheet as a midweight. If needed, I guess I can always add it to his heavyweight ... but then it would be an extra-heavyweight blanket (and usually horses are inside if its that cold, even the pasture boarded horses).

Now, on to Gus.

We had a really nice lesson. Started off on the lunge, as per our usual. He was very sluggish and lazy to get going, not sure if it was the cold weather or just him being him. But, he was moving evenly and that's all that matters.

Under saddle work consisted of shoulder stretches, with a 6-8m circle thrown in at either E or B. We really, really worked on bending on those small circles. Along with that, Gus had to maintain an inside bend during the entire exercise (or at least looking to the inside). He did fairly well with this as time progressed ...

Trot work consisted of basically working on serpentines, with Gus really, truly bending around my inside leg - whichever "leg" was on the "inside". We had some nice moments in our trot work. Nothing fabulous but then, I'm not expecting that when both him and I are outta shape.

Canter work began with us on the right lead (the harder of the two leads). We decided to work on counter-canter last night and it went fairly well. Going to the right, the 1-loop serpentines were very, very shallow - think like a stride or two off the rail. Gus did really well with this. Switching to the left lead, the 1-loops were more "dramatic", coming nearly to the quarter-line before turning back to the rail. We had a few more issues maintaining the true lead when doing counter-canter work on the left. This was mainly due to the fact that Gus was throwing himself around with this shoulders and not lifting, so it was more difficult to pick himself up when moving to the counter-bend. Before we called it quits, B had us counter-cantering the entire arena. That was A LOT of work for both of us, but Gus did a good job. I think we got about three laps before his engine was gone. He truly has no reserve ... when he's done, he is done.

All in all, it was a good lesson. Not as exhausting as the previous week, but exhausting enough. Gus ended up getting bundled up in his Northwind, which he's been wearing for a while now, with his Schneider's liner. Hopefully he's staying warm in all this cold weather.

If I don't write again before the holidays, Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday's Ride

Well, the first workout for both boys (and myself) since last Wednesday was on Monday. And both boys were really good.

I worked Gus first, so he'd have a chance to cool down and dry off before I put him back out. We worked on the same basic principles as we have done in prior rides. Lunging followed up with some shoulder stretches. Trot and canter work was almost entirely done on 20m, 15m and 10m circles. Gus was really good - seemed to be travelling much looser then he has in previous rides. I'm not sure if that has to do with the addition of aspirin back into his supps or not. We shall see.

I did finally upload those photos of both boys ... so here's what Gus looks like currently.

This is what Gus looked like at his lowest weight. Notice the significant muscle and fat loss on the topline, haunches and  the underside of his barrel. Thankfully the weightloss has subsided and now we're working on weight gain again.

His skinny little butt, with all the muscles showing ... 

Ribs showing ... 

Taken Monday ... about a week after we dramatically upped his grain.
So, not entirely sure how much hay Gus is getting ... I think it's like 2 flakes in the AM and 3 in the PM, or maybe it's 3/3 or 2/3 but I do know, for a fact, how much grain Gus is getting.

Currently, as of this morning, Gus is getting  1 1/2lb of Triple Crown Senior morning and evening. along with his MSM and apsirin. Hopefully the increase in grain, along with the better hay he's supposed to be getting in the evenings, he'll pack that weight back on in no time. I guess time will tell.


Since Gringo graced me with being sound on Monday, we worked on the lunge line instead of ground driving. He was a really good boy. Unfortunately, we had issues with getting the correct canter lead, especially the left lead canter. Not entirely sure what's up with that. I know he can get really unbalanced at the canter, but he should still be able to manage to pick up the correct lead ... 

Anyways, he was a good boy though and we had some really nice work. I still ended up shortening the inside side rein two holes when we were going to the right. This helped encourage Gringo to work on the correct bend. I did not make any changes when going to the left ... but I think I'm going to try shortening the side reins next time to see if that encourages the correct bend and therefore the correct canter lead. We'll see if that little experiment works.

Gringo photos. I have a few new ones of him as well.

 While Gringo is still quite pudgy, he has lost a little weight. So I opted to increase his grain slightly as well. Instead of 1/4lb TC Senior twice a day, he's now getting 1/2lb in the AM and 1/4lb in the PM. We'll see if that helps keep him from losing too much.

Stay tuned for more updates. Tomorrow is lesson Wednesday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday Recap.

Well, yesterday I had a fabulous lesson on Gus and a nice ground driving session with Gringo.

Starting with Gringo ... Well, he ended up being lame on the lunge yesterday so instead of wasting a day and not doing anything, I opted to get out the long lines and work on ground driving. He was such a trooper yesterday. I had another "proud momma" moment with him. Despite not being ground driven since his lesson like three weeks ago, he did really well. I definitely want to keep working on this as it's a really good tool to have in our box.

My lesson on Gus went well too. We were both exhausted but such is life. I started off with Gus on the lunge, as usual. And he was a total loony - not necessarily typical Gus, but the antics were (the buck/fart/bolt thing). He looked to be fairly sound-moving, but had just the slightest hitch on the left front. We did eventually work out of that though.

Under saddle work consisted of circles. Lots and lots of circles. We had cones set up on a 20m circle in the middle of the arena. Cones were spaced out at 15m and 10m (B, E and on both sides of the centerline). Objective? Smaller circle, more collected, bendy trot (or canter). Larger circle, move forward, freer trot (or canter).

We had some very nice trot moments undersaddle. The canter work was nice too - we had a real nice 15m canter on the RL - the 20m circle Gus didn't try hard enough and the 10m was too difficult. On the LL, Gus was pretty obedient the whole time ... but when he was done, he was DONE. There is absolutely no reserve left in that boy's tank.

We ended the lesson with both him and I being exhausted. Gus was puffing like there's no tomorrow, along with being drenched on his shoulders & chest. I'm glad I clipped him this fall ... cause after a ride like yesterday, there was no way he would've otherwise dried off. As it was, I did end up putting him back outside after just 30min under coolers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter is HERE!!!

And I'm none too happy about it, but what do you do? After not being able to partake in my usual Wednesday lesson, due to a work emergency,  I did managed to make it out to the barn on Saturday to ride Gus and pony Gringo.

As usual both boys were good and as usual, Gringo was stubborn about moving any faster then a walk. So, I decided, since the arena was empty, to put up the gate and let him roam around while I worked with Gus. He was good and Gus was especially good. Heck, even I was good :-). All things considered, it was a good ride.

Just as I was finishing up, Gringo noticed the handsome (beautiful ??? not sure what he thought) horse in the mirror. Oh boy was he having a field day talking to the beauty in the mirror. It has hilarious. He was so obsessed with his reflection. I don't think I've ever seen that reaction from him before. He was a good boy about me catching him again and  didn't have any issues leaving the beauty behind in the mirror.

Yesterday, however, was a miserable day. I am very thankful I dragged my butt to the barn on Saturday. We ended up with something like 14"+ of snow yesterday. It's truly a winter wonderland, treacherous roads and all. It's crazy!

So, not sure when I'll be back out to see the boys. I'm planning to go tomorrow, weather permitting. Lesson is scheduled again for Wednesday.

I'll try to get some photos posted that I took this morning on my drive into work. What's normally a 30 minute commute took over an hour. It was ridiculous, but beautiful.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gringo was a GOOD boy.

The title sums it all up in a nutshell. Yesterday was Gringo's first "training lesson" in over umm 5 years, if I'm not mistaken. And he was a very good boy.

We ended up starting off with some basic w/t/c on the lunge, no side reins. Gringo was his typical self in doing this, really not caring one bit about the whole ordeal. We were not able to manage to get the left lead canter when we first started out ... but I think that had a lot to do with him being unbalanced.

Switching to the right, he was a bit better, but more unbalanced (still managed to get the correct canter lead though). Once the side reins were added though, it became apparent that we needed to adjust the side reins. So, the right inside side rein was shortened by two holes ... we left the outside side rein alone. With just that little bit of shortening, Gringo was able to flex and bend and become a little bit softer to the bridle. We had some REALLY NICE trot steps. Very lofty. So much in fact, that he was over-reaching and nicking himself. I guess I need to dig out some bell boots/splint boots to help protect his legs.

When we switched back to the left rein again, the only adjustment I needed to make was to his right side rein. We ended up moving it back out two holes to where it was previously. Going to the left, we worked on getting him to left his front shoulder (left front) and sit a bit longer on his hind legs. This will help him from pounding that bad leg (left front) into the ground.

It's truly amazing how a lunge whip can really get a point across. With Gus, it's like you need to beat him to get anything accomplished (he's that bad with regards to forward movement ... his ideal world is revolved around eating and standing around). Gringo's definitely different in that case. All I needed to do was pickup the whip and point it at his hind end and boy did it start moving out. He easily started tracking up when the whip was pointed at him. It also helped to point the whip at his front end ... and wiggle it a bit. That in combination with "half halts", we got him to lift his front end just enough so that he had to sit more on his haunches. Success!

With side reins on, and going to the left, we did manage to get a few nice left lead canters. However, he did end up falling apart and breaking to a trot nearly every time he approached the end of a 20m circle. We did manage one full circle before we called it quits.

After the lunging work, we started on ground driving/long lining. I haven't attempted this since before Gringo left the barn the first time. So we started off really simple. I was at Gringo's head with a lead, and B was working the long reins.

First she was off to his near side, just a bit past his surcingle. Eventually she was off his off side, same distance. Then she was behind him. He got really nervous when he couldn't see B anymore, especially once I was out of the equation.

The two of them managed to do quite a few laps of the arena, in both directions, without too much fuss. It's definitely something Gringo does not enjoy, but like with everything else, I do believe he'll become much better once time progresses and he becomes more comfortable.


Gus, well, Gus was a bit neglected last night. He managed to sneak two apples out of me and got some nice pats. Nothing else. The plan is to work with Gus (and Gringo) Friday after work. Gus will be outfitted in full lunge gear ... then maybe I'll hop on for a quick walk ride. Gringo will get lunged again as well, or that's the plan, at least.

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Milestones

Well, this past Tuesday, the boys and I reached a new milestone. We all learned how to pony. Gus was the pony-er, Gringo the pony-ee and me? I was the overseer (aka rider). It was a lot of fun. Gus was a SAINT. Gringo decided to shove his nose up Gus's butt and well, Gus didn't appreciate that at all but he was so good about everything. No pinned ears, no kicking, no squealing, nada. Just one very good boy. Gringo - hmm, we despite it all, he was a very good boy too. He just wasn't too sure about all the fuss I was making on the top of Gus's back. And he despised trotting behind Gus.

I plan on doing more pony work in the future as it kills two birds with one stone and allows me to work both horses, abit non-traditionally.

Wednesday was lesson day and it went fairly well. We started off lunging (in which Gus was good) followed by some shoulder stretches at the walk. After that, we did and leg-yields. Gus was a really good boy for everything, but we figured out that all the stretching in the front end ended up making Gus really sore. He sorta worked out of it, but was still quite uncomfortable.

We proceeded to trot work after that, doing SI at the walk from like F to P, then trotting across the short diagonal to S, then S to H SI again. Rinse and repeat on the other side of the arena.

Canter work was more or less the same thing. Except I *think* we did SI at the trot from say S to V, then from V to P we cantered, then from P to R trot, then rinse and repeat. We had some nice moments ... definitely still have issues with the right lead canter currently - as it's more difficult for Gus to maintain that lead for any length of time.

On another note, Gus has lost a dramatic amount of weight in just a short period of time. C, the BM, asked me on Tuesday if I had noticed any weight loss on Gus and literally just minutes before I was debating as to whether or not Gus had lost some muscle in his hindend. Well, my suspicions were confirmed when she said that they had noticed a few horses drop a lot of weight seemingly overnight. Gus just happened to be one of the unlucky ones. Gringo was not.

I did do some work with Gringo again on Wednesday evening. We attempted to lunge, but quickly cut that short when he ended up lame. So instead we did some in-hand work. As usual, Gringo was a good boy.

I got some pictures ... but as usual, they aren't uploaded yet ... 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's been ages ... again.

Life has been busy these last few days/weeks, so unfortunately G2's blog (and the boys themselves) have been neglected. I thought I'd manage to get caught up (and ride) this weekend, but unfortunately that hasn't happened either - though I am managing to update the blog. Yah!

So, I did end up having a lesson last week - first one in two weeks due to cancelling the week prior due to my trip down south for a wedding (which was way too much fun). The lesson went well enough. We worked primarily in the walk, doing the shoulder stretches for a few laps - eventually converting those to turn on the haunches (least I think that's what they were ... as the haunches stayed stationary and we pivoted around) or walk pirouettes. Gus was a really good boy though much better behaved going to the right I think, then he was to the left. Anyways, a great exercise and Gus was very cooperative.

I also rode sans spurs. Honestly, didn't make a difference whatsoever whether I was wearing them or not. Gus still ignores my leg. So, lesson learned perhaps? We can refrain from spurs for the time being since they don't accomplish anything but a horse who just keeps shutting down mentally.

Gringo's been on the back burner as of late as well too. He did have a couple in-hand workouts the last couple times I was out, but that's about it. He's great on the lunge so now I really need to work on getting him used to me working him in-hand and also ground driving. That's our goal for the next couple months.

Both boys had their hooves done in the last three weeks. Gus's were done back on the 27th, Gringo's on the 14th of November. Both were good boys, as usual. Although Gringo had J do his hooves for the first time in ages ... that would be female J. She said he was good, a bit jumpy, but good nonetheless.

Here's the photos, Gus first.


Alright. Now Gringo's hooves.

And some other fun photos of Gringo ... I don't think I've posted these yet. If so, just ignore.

More updates to come.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Hmm. That's about all I can say about Gus, right about now.

So in talking with B over the last couple days, she's mentioned that she, too, has seen the cribbing/windsucking going on with the tire. Gus has been at it so much, that he's actually relocated the tire about a foot from where it was originally. And this isn't no tiny little car tire. It's a huge tractor tire. Sheesh! B also stated that she's seen Gus laying down a lot more then normal as well. Gus does tend to lay down a lot, and if I'm not mistaken, his sleeping habits tend to increase in the fall/winter months. We're still not sure what's up with Gus, so he's just going to be monitored for the time being. FWIW, B did as Dr. N about the tire issue and she's at loss as to why he'd be doing it.

I did end up riding today though. Gus was a really good boy. Nothing unusual at all. He was stiff starting out, especially since I didn't lunge again but with our typical warm-up (shoulder stretches, flexions, etc) he worked out of everything. I was very proud of Gus. He was a good boy today.

I decided to put him in his heavier blanket. The main reason is because I'm going to be gone for the next week due to my best friend's wedding this weekend. So, because of our weird weather, I opted to go heavier then lighter. Basically, he's wearing 20g more fill then he was prior. I'm pretty sure he'll survive. Plus he's got his neck cover on now. So that should help keep those muscles nice and loose. Hopefully.

Gringo was a good boy today as well. Well, as good as to be expected. I opted to just do a quick lunge session with him  to see if he's sound. He is. I truly thing his soundness will always be and on again, off again kind of thing. We ended up lunging in just a halter and while he did as asked, he didn't necessarily behave as obediently as he's done in the past. Down transitions too a LONG time to come around, but eventually they happened. We even had the correct canter lead most of the time (left lead is a lot easier then the right).

I did end up measuring Gringo today. I haven't sticked him in ages. Surprise, surprise. He's about 15.1 1/2 hands. When I first got him, he was a smidge over 14.3, I believe. Pretty sure he's done growing now. He should be anyways, since he's nearly 10 years old.

Gringo is still rocking his Centaur sheet. It's a great sheet that I got this past spring. Gus had been rocking the same sheet. What I love about them is that they provide mid-neck coverage. And they have a decent length drop. So, while Gringo's sheet is too big, by about 1 size, at least he doesn't look like a fat guy wearing an A-shirt.

I haven't done an update on grain/supps in a while, so here's what the boys are on currently.

Grain: 3/4lb twice a day
Supps: 10g MSM
Hay: 3 flakes twice a day (probably 30lbs)

Grain: 1/4lb twice a day
Supps: 10g MSM
Hay: 2 flakes twice a day (probably 20lbs)

I'll give an update again next Wednesday. Here's hoping Gringo behaves himself for J on Wednesday and the boys don't cause too much drama between now and then.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tire Cribbing?

WTH? I went out to the barn yesterday to drop off board and say a quick "hi" and "bye" to the boys and found Gus has a new found passion. Cribbing/windsucking on his hay tire. Seriously? WTH!?!

I talked to B and she said C (the BM per say) noticed Gus doing that on Friday ... so as much as we can gather, this is a new thing. I guess that's good to know, but still frustrating as to why he's doing it to begin with. I'm going to attempt to locate the old crib strap ... I hate to have to use it again, but seriously, he can't be doing this again.

Gringo is still doing well. He's not running to meet me at the gate anymore but he still seems happy to see me, which is good. He's getting his hooves trimmed by J (the female J) on Wednesday, so I HOPE he's a good boy. C is mostlikely the one who's going to handle him and she really doesn't like Gringo. Horses can sense that so I do hope he's on his best behavior. Unfortunately due to my work schedule and the fact that I'm leaving for Georgia on Friday morning, I won't be out at all until after my trip. I'm hoping J can tackle some of the issues I've been having with Gringo's hooves and bring them back up to par.

Speaking of hooves, Gus had his done about two weeks ago. I have pictures ... just need to upload them. Maybe I'll get around to that this evening. I'm hoping to get in a quick ride tomorrow afternoon as that's the last chance I'll be able to make it out before the trip. Both boys need to have their grain replenished and I think I'm going to change out Gus's blanket ... we'll see.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wednesday's Recap

So, it's Friday. Finally. And I totally forgot to write a recap on Wednesday's lesson. So, here goes.

Gringo was still slightly off still on the left front (the same leg with the old fractured coffin bone). So instead of lunging, we worked about 45 minutes on in-hand work. He was MUCH better Wednesday then he was the day prior with me working with him back  by his withers. I think it's a totally new sensation for Gringo to have me not walking by his head ... so in time, I think he'll improve. He's still slightly better working in-hand on the left then to the right. But again, time should tell and I have no doubts that he'll improve.

After the in-hand session was done, we did some mounting block work. Gringo has definitely improved, though marginally, with our mounting block work. On Wednesday I was able to get him to willing walk forward and STAND STILL at the mounting block. Whohoo. Success! I also was able to but a bit of weight on his back with my leg - and he just stood that. It was a very proud momma moment for me. He was even good with me bumping him in the rump.

Gus's lesson went really well as well. Same ol', same ol' as far as material covered. But he was a good boy, yet again. Working with him on the lunge, the first time since last week, was interesting. Holy cow was he god awfully hideous looking when first started out. But, we made progress and soon enough he was moving a lot freer in the back and shoulder.

Undersaddle, we did the shoulder stretches and flexion circles again. I have to say, I love those shoulder streches. They are FABULOUS!!! A definite must for Gus, every ride, every time. The trot and canter work was really nice on Wednesday. I couldn't have been more pleased with my old, arthritic horse. Definitely a good, positive lesson.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Definitely made a little bit of progress today with both boys, especially Gringo though.

I started off working with Gringo on the lunge. Instead of the same ol', same ol', I set up some cavalletti poles. Specifically, three poles. Quite comical watching Gringo navigate the poles the first few times. Walking them wasn't such a big deal, but he thought it was nearly impossible to trot the poles. Eventually, like everything else, he figured it out and it wasn't such a big deal. Although towards the end he thought it would've been more fun cantering the poles instead of trotting. Sheesh Gringo!

After the lunge work, we worked on some in-hand work. Specifically, I had the reins over his head and set up as if I were riding and basically we walked around the arena like that for about 10 minutes. I did need to eventually grab a dressage whip as the forward movement was lost ... but he was a pretty good boy, considering everything. This is definitely a place where we need to make a lot of progress. But baby steps. That's what I keep telling myself anyways.

Gringo finished his hour long session with about 10 minutes at the mounting block. He did not like it one bit. Actually, in general, he doesn't like it. Standing at the mounting block in itself isn't a big deal but me banging around on him isn't cool, least in Gringo's opinion. The mounting block is definitely an area for improvement as well.

I rode Gus after working Gringo. Same exact program as our last right. Except I threw in a few more serpentines tonight, along with a lot more canter circles. I'm thankful that we found something that works for the front end stiffness. The shoulder stretches (is that what I said I'd call them? I forget now) work wonders. Once we got to the trot, I didn't need to ask for as much flexion, Gus just was there and moving right along.

Canter work today was mainly on a large figure-8. Gus was really, really good with the canter work. It wasn't as nice and rhythmic as in previous rides, but it was still pretty - all things considered. He's definitely gaining his stamina back, that's for sure.

At the end, we did some stretchy-chewy circles (again, on the figure-8) at the trot. We had some nice moments there as well. Definitely making progress with Gus as well too.

Tomorrow is lesson day again. I plan on working Gringo first and then having a lesson on Gus. I'll update as soon as I can.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Two for Two

Day 2 for Gringo was another one for the umm, record books? Haha. But in all actuality, he was a superstar again. I'm very proud of Mr. Gringo. We had no issues on the lunge today at all. And our halt is truly immobile. I'm very happy about that (the immobile halt, that is).

So, I was able to get another video of Gringo today. Here's the link, hopefully it works for everyone - it sure beats uploading again to YouTube. Gringo's video. We didn't get the correct canter leads consistently but we did eventually get them. So, I'm going to cancel his vet appointment for later this week. I don't think we'll be needing it.

Gus was a good boy again as well. And like yesterday, he started off so incredibly stiff - it was amazing that he was even able to walk. But doing the shoulder stretches (I think that's the term I'll use from now on) and the flexion circles, we were able to make some progress. I don't think we got the same throughness through the back like I had in my lesson, but Gus was definitely forward and working off his hindend. So progress was and is being made. Finally.

Tomorrow is a day off for both boys. I'll be back out to see both of them on Tuesday. If the arena isn't busy, I think I'll try to incorporate some cavalletti into Gringo's program ... and more mounting block work. Gus could benefit from the cavalletti work as well.

I'm not sure what to say, but ...

Gringo was amazing yesterday. And Gus was too.

Yesterday was the first time in like 5 1/2 years that I've been able to really, really work with Gringo - least of all in a place that has an arena. He was amazing. The whoa was there consistently and the canter was back like it never even left. My plan for him is to work him again today and if he's as good as he was yesterday, I'm cancelling his vet appointment.

I took some video of yesterday's trot & canter work but I'm going to reshoot it today. I didn't realize I could omit the audio ... I'd rather show video that demonstrates Gringo's nice gaits and rather then my annoying voice.

Gus was a really good boy again as well. I opted to not lunge again because well, I had already spent 20 minutes walking in circles with Gringo and didn't want to go through that again. So, we started off right away doing the forehand stretches or whatever the heck you want to call them. It's where you walk off the track at an angle, turn sorta on the forehand then walk back to the rail. Rinse and repeat. Anyways, we did that for a few laps, switches sides then started working on the trot.

Our trot work consisted of the same work as before. Basically when he wanted to drop behind the contact, I made him stay there for a few steps. This time he got the idea a lot quicker and we ended up with some really nice trot work.

The canter was pretty nice as well. We worked on big 20m circles and did some whole arena figure-8s. Today's plan is more of the same. Hopefully.

Friday, October 26, 2012

He arrived!

Gringo was such a good boy today. He made me very, very proud to be his "momma".

Today was the big move and it couldn't have gone smoother. When we got out to the barn and went to load up Gringo, he honestly barely even blinked an eye. To the best of my knowledge, Gringo has never been trailered in a ramp trailer. He could've cared less - and if he had loaded any faster, you would've thought he ran on. I'm so happy that he's a good hauler. Gus, well that's a totally different story.

Anyways, we got him moved out to Gus's barn and off-loaded and that was that. No drama. Barely any calling. He was a very, very good boy.

The only thing I did with him today was walk him around in the indoor arena for about 15 minutes. He was really good and didn't have much to say about any of it - except he was fascinated with himself. You see, the indoor arena has mirrors on two sides ... it's always funny to see a horse watching himself. Anyways, the arena was no issue.

My plan for tomorrow is to work in in the arena ... w/t/c to see what we've got going on. He did manage to take a few canter strides today while out in his turnout. From what little bit I saw, he was sound and not bunny hopping. So here's hoping that tomorrow he'll look amazing.

In talking with L, who did the trailering for me today, I'm more then a bit upset that the BM (not to be confused with B, the trainer & BO) is still attempting to spread rumors about Gringo that are totally unfounded. She (the BM) seems to think that Gringo is still some wild, unmanageable horse that has no respect for others, let alone himself. Well, that's totally untrue. I'm hoping that Gringo's personality wins people over and nothing happens ... but if I hear more rumors, I'm going to go talk to B. It's not fair to Gringo, or me, for these rumors to spread, when no one but myself knows who the real Gringo is. After all, the BM hasn't seen Gringo in 5 years. She has no basis for her argument now. He's not who he used to be.

Anyways, I'll leave you with a couple new photos of Gringo.

And I was too lazy to work with Gus today. So tomorrow he'll get some one on one time as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Awesome Ride

Tonight was a night of awesomeness. So, as per usual, I had a lesson this evening. And unlike my usual lessons, this one was amazing.

So, I did start off with lunging Gus - and unlike the last couple times, today he was extremely stiff again. Again, it was strictly in the shoulders for the most part. We weren't able to get him loosen up much on the lunge, so once undersaddle work started, B got creative.

At the walk, we did this exercise where you walk about a horse's body length off the track - diagonally, then turn the shoulders back towards the rail. Think something like turn on the forehand, but not really. The object of this is to get him to move the inside shoulder out and around the outside, while making the outside should bear more weight. That exercise really freed up his shoulders but didn't solve the locked-up back issue.

So, B decided to have us move to the trot. On a 20m circle, whenever Gus tried to duck or drop behind the contact, I made him stay there. Think hyperflexion/Rolkur/super.duper.flexed. Granted this was an exercise to get him so over bent that his only option was to free up his back. Well, it worked.

Once we got Gus moving freely though his back (and not evading contact) we proceeded to do multiple 3-loop serpentines. Overall, we had some fabulous trot work this evening. Gus's back has never felt so relaxed and free. Or, I guess I should say it's been a long time since he felt that good. We even had the tail swishing thing going on. Yeah!

Canter work proceeded immediately after the trot serpentines. We started on a 20m circle and cantered about 1 1/2 circles, then at X we did a simple change of lead, then started a 20m circle on the other lead. Both canter leads were nice and fluid this evening. No bobbles. No bad steps. Just fabulous.

I have tomorrow and Friday, along with the weekend, off from work. My plan is to visit Gringo tomorrow and reevaluate his situation. Friday is D-day. Not sure what time that's going to happen as I'm still trying to get things figured out with L. I'm hoping to have him back at B's by early afternoon. Then Saturday and Sunday I plan on going out to see both boys and spend as much time as I can with both of them.

So, that being said, I'm not sure if I'll be heading out to the barn again tomorrow to work with Gus or just wait and work with him Friday afternoon. I'll have more photos and updates to come in the next couple days. I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Raining!

Finally. First time, in at least a month, that it's actually raining out. Well, trying to anyways. I'm so happy ... makes for a miserable mess at the barn though.

I decided to fit in a quick ride this evening after work and Gus was fabulous. I opted to not lunge him and well, it actually went okay. Very pleased.

We warmed up at the walk, working on suppleness and flexion. To accomplish this, I did some SIs, LYs and serpentines - eventually this progressed to the trot. Gus was nicely forward - the suppleness was lacking but by the end of our ride  Gus was much better behaved.

Canter work was nice, simple 20m circles at the four major letters. Reverse and repeat the other direction. I'm debating about trying to get by tomorrow without lunging again ... not sure if I can eek out two rides in a row without lunging ... so, I guess we'll see.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Switch?

Well, I've got one boy back and the other is now hurting. Can't I ever get a break? Seriously?

Yesterday I went out to the barn after work and worked with Gus. Like really worked with Gus. On the lunge he was fabulous, a little snarky but nothing like he was the other day. Undersaddle, he was a really good boy.

I noticed when he was too forward at the trot we ended up with some head bobbles ... so, getting him to slow down and sit down on his haunches, the problems went away. We had some nice trot moments. I ended up making Gus do some SIs and LYs - those really did seem to help get those front end leg muscles moving ... so my plan on is to continue with the lateral work to try to strengthen and supple the ol' boy.

Gringo, Gringo, Gringo. I'm almost devastated to write this today. But he was incredibly off at the canter today.

Backing up a step ... today I went out to work with Gringo. Starting off, he was fabulous at the walk and trot. We even had our whoa today. I was ecstatic! I decided to ask for a canter on the lunge today. I haven't asked him to canter on the lunge in months because honestly, he can be a bit of a lunatic on the line - and not in the buck/fart/bolt method that Gus had down. No, Gringo pops out the outside shoulder and takes off. Fast.

So, today I asked for the canter and I'm not even sure what you would call it. He was cross-cantering and couldn't correct himself. Normally, if you break to a trot and ask again, most horses will eventually get it, but Gringo didn't. When he did eventually get the correct lead, he's literally fall with his hind end. Going to the right he even had a noticeable "bunny hop" quality to his canter. Not a good thing at all.

Naturally, this is really bothering me as he's moving to his new barn in a week and well, I was hoping he'd be sound and comfortable to go back to work. I guess I'm needing to rethink things - he's still moving but well, now we need to get the vet involved again. Uggh.

Uggh. Just makes me sick. Why can't I get a break? Honestly.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

He's back!

After an interesting lunge session yesterday, one in which Gus sent me death threats, I came to the conclusion that he's sound again.

I opted to lunge him in just a halter - big mistake. For whatever reason, Gus decided to be super snarky last night and kept sending me death vibes. Meaning, ears pinned back, grumpy expressions, a swinging to the inside hind end, the list really, truly goes on and on.

Moral of the story, he was sound. We lunged for probably 15 minutes total and while he took some really bad steps with the left hind starting off, the front end looked good the whole time.

My plan is to work with Gus tomorrow after work and again either Saturday or Sunday, maybe both if I'm ambitious enough. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hmm. Better but still not 100%

I swear, that's the story of Gus's life. Or at least it could sum it up in a nutshell. He's definitely A LOT better then he was last week, but he's still a bit off on that left fore. Yesterday I had him on the lunge for about 10 minutes, w/t/c both directions. He was nicely forward and stretching downward and looked sound. However, going to the right there's still a bit of a bobble in the front. My plan is to lunge him again tomorrow, complete with side reins and then hopefully get a couple rides on him later in the week. By then he'll be off the bute so we'll have an honest idea of how he's doing.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Seriously. I could scream, but it wouldn't solve anything. On to regular news, Gus is lame. Yep. You heard it from me first. He's off again.

Lame is probably a too strong of word to use, so hereforth I'll use the word "off" to describe him. As you may well remember, he's been off a lot lately but typically he'll work through his problems. Well on Wednesday evening, this wasn't to be the case. While Gus looked and seemed okay on the lunge line (specifically going to the left) it was evident the more he was worked (without side reins, mind you) that he was definitely struggling in the front.

Upon palpation, courtesy of B, we found the sore spot. I'm calling it the anterior deep pectoral muscle - though I'm not sure if that's the correct muscle or not. But basically it's the muscle that runs the length of the scapula and then meets the other muscle that runs down the front of the neck - the point of the shoulder/shoulder joint is where the issue lies. AND it's only on the left side that we have problems, as there is absolutely no reaction at all when you palpate the right side.

So, back to the drawing boards. Gus is receiving more R & R, plus a little bute on the side. I did ice his chest on Wednesday evening along with a nice little Sore No More liniment rub. He didn't appreciate either one, go figure. I'm hoping, when I'm out again on Sunday, that he's looking better and feeling better, too.

Gringo was a TROOPER on Wednesday. The vet was out to do his "spring" vaccines, abit six months after the fact. So he should now be all set for moving to the other barn here at the end of the month. We also had bloodwork drawn for his Coggins.

I've never seen Gringo so well behaved for a stranger. He didn't even flinch when she poked him. I was a very, very proud mama. He didn't necessarily care for the intranasal Strangles vaccine, but he was still a good sport.

I did end up deworming Gringo again as well, too. He didn't get dewormed when L was out to trim his hooves a few weeks back, so I went a head and dewormed him before the vet got there. I did a double dose of plain ol' Ivermectin. 

Unfortunately, his new cob-sized bridle does not currently fit, at least in the as-is condition. So, off to find some horse-sized cheek pieces and maybe a new noseband and we should be good to go then. I should post some photos ...

Monday, October 8, 2012

I hate winter.

Okay. So maybe I'm getting a bit dramatic. I do despise winter but only because it's cold, wet and umm cold. Did I already mention that I hate the cold? Well, I do. And it's only October 8th and I'm already sick of this weather. According to the calendar, it's supposed to be fall. So, being fall, we're supposed to have cool night and mild days. Say 50-60 degree highs for the day. Definite NOT having that kinda of weather here in MN currently. I think it's actually drizzling/sleeting at the moment... we need the moisture, but we don't need the cold, least not yet.

On to the ponies. Well, Gringo still has been sorely neglected as of late. On Wednesday this week he's having his annual exam, finally. Then he'll be all set to move back to B's for the winter. Thank goodness he doesn't have any issues with multiple injections at one time ... poor guy. He's definitely going to be aching on Thursday, that's for sure.

Gus. Gus. Gus. Well, what can I say except the fact that he continually causes drama? Well, drama is probably a too strong of word. He isn't lame, at the moment, but he's definitely off. Funny thing is, he works out of it (which is good) but only when he's asked to sit back on his haunches and do a job trot. When we do a full-on dressage trot, he's off. So we still think he's dealing with some arthritis in his front legs (heck, maybe even higher up - like shoulder area?) but for the time being, he's comfortable working through the stiffness.

His new saddle pad(s) from Horze look amazing. I purchase two pads, one in chocolate and one in a smoky blue color. The blue one is absolutely stunning on ... and it fits just like my Joules pad, which is awesome because that's my favorite saddle pad ever.

Anyways, nothing else to report except that I hate this miserable weather.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wednesday's Recap

Well, I had another nice lesson last night on Gus. After our usual lunge routine (where he had one really nasty almost fall) we started with our undersaddle work. Gus was VERY stiff starting out yesterday - not really sure why. I'm kinda guessing it was likely due to not being worked much at all over the past week, but regardless he did work though it fairly well.

After a few warm-up laps at the trot, we proceeded to work on some 20m circles at the major letters (CBAE). Over the center line, around I and L, B had placed a couple ground poles. We trotted over the poles only when we were on the circles at either B or E. Once Gus figured out that exercise, we moved on to 3-loop serpentines, using the poles.

Canter work was next and that ended up being a bit more challenging. Because we were, once again, doing 20m circles at the four major letters. Which meant that two circles included the dreaded ground poles. Gus figured out quickly that he could just spread his front legs out and canter over the pole, totally defeating the purpose of the ground poles (which I think was to get him to rock back more on his haunches?).

Anyways, we had some really nice moments both on the left lead and on the right. But we again had a very nasty stumble on the left lead ... almost brought us both down. Not sure what happened, I think Gus totally forgot to move his feet. We recovered and went on to end on a positive note.

Last night's lesson focused more on round, forward and soft in the bridle. This was the first time in a couple weeks that we hadn't worked on more of a jog-trot. So our trot work was actually, pleasantly, nice and forward. B even commented on it. Canter work, before the bad stumble, was fabulous - especially to the left. It was a nice, rhythmic 3-beat gait - very "rocking horse" like.

Hoping that Gus is on the up and up. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Working "out of it".

Well, Gus is slightly off still on the, what seems to be, left fore. However the more and more B and I look at him the more and more we think it's higher up (say shoulder/back/etc). And as he's done in previous weeks, he did eventually work out of most of the stiffness.

We started off on the lunge and unlike the previous weeks, Gus decided to attempt to kill me again. I lost track of how many times I had hooves flying at my head ... I guess Gus was feeling frisky with the cooler weather. Oh well. I'm used to it.

Once we got past that and started on the undersaddle work, it became evident that Gus wasn't 100% on the left - or at least with the left front. Funny thing was, it was worse going to the right then to the left. Because of that, B thinks we're dealing with something higher up ... perhaps chiropractic will help. I guess I need to save up for that again.

Lesson-wise, we worked on serpentines again and trotting on the second track. We started off with 3 and 4 loop serpentines at the trot. Once those were going well and Gus was starting to loosen up, we proceeded to work on the quarterline/second track. The goal with straightness - and umm, we didn't quite manage that at first but by the end of the exercise we had the straightness almost nailed. We also did some changes across the diagonal using the smaller arena that was set up by working off the quarterline. Those helped Gus stay focused and balanced, with most of his weight back on his hindend.

Canter work started and ended on the quarterline/second track. The objective was straight, balanced and supple. We just about nailed that too. The hardest part was half-halting upon approaching the short side and doing the sorta-kinda turn-on-the-haunches to get a square turn. Gus was much better at the end ... and we actually had some nice canter work on his bad side (aka right side).

This weekend is the show at the barn again. I'm hoping to get a lot more photos on Friday of all the ponies, so stay tuned.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Okay, final post for today (Monday). Last Friday Gus finally got his hooves trimmed. He was at just over 9 weeks out and desperately needed to be reset. I guess J finally was able to catch up on horses.

Here's Gus's pretty hooves, three days post trim.

We'll see if his soundness improves with the trim/reset. He was not the greatest, soundness-wise, last week when I had my lesson. I wasn't able to ride today (because I spent HOURS clipping him) so my plan is to head out to the barn tomorrow morning and get in a quick ride before work. I'm hoping he's doing much better with the reset.