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.