Friday, 5 December 2008

A Visit From The Dentist

I have decided enough is enough! Since today will be my (Natalie) last day of tafe, and since I don't have any work or anything else to do, Ive decided I will update!

So yesterday entailed Gracie's first visit from the vet. We noticed that she had been dribbling quite a bit over the weekend so decided she was ready for her first dental appointment. Since it had been 3 years (yes Lisa, 3 years!) since Beckam's last visit we decided both should be done to get it all over with. (EDIT: It has been one and a half years, Natalie. I had his teeth done by another dentist last time).

I thought about who should go first, the easy one or the hard one. Lisa told me that Beckham wouldn't need sedating and that he will behave, pfft. So anyway I decided he should go first, that way if he behaved Grace would see it wouldn't be too bad for her.

Gary (the vet/dentist), is a really nice guy, he is from Hawksbury Equine Veterinary Centre, who deal with all our horsey problems, and I don't know how he does it but he has so much patience when it comes to arrogant horses who have been sedated 3 times and are still being pains in the backside. Beckam was a pig, he had to be jabbed 3 times, and still put up a fight, he stood with his legs straddled to balance and his head in a huge halter thing that hung from to roof to hold his head. He thrashed around, he moved forward, he moved backwards, sideways and managed to put his head in a position that only a horse with a broken neck could be capable of.

He ended up having a gap between two of his back teeth, which resulted in the tooth that sat underneath the gap in growing higher then the others which resulted in what they call a wave mouth.

So next came Grace, she had been sedated before we started on Beckham and then again when Gary was about to start. She was surprisingly REALLY good for the vet. She didn't complain about anything, not even the electric float drill. The Only problem we had was a fly on her hind leg, she hates flies, and since so much was going on around her head she completely freaked out about the fly and started kicking out and did a little jump/rear (she is good at that).

Grace ended up having 4 wolf teeth out, apparently that's the first time Gary had seen 4 wolf teeth, he said he has seen 3 but never in his whole career has he seen 4 wolf teeth. She was sedated 3 times, one of them for pulling her teeth and she had also been given a dose of Bute.

So overall She behaved excellently and Beckam was a pig, which is surprising since I though it would have ended up the other way around.


It has been about 3 months since we first got Grace, so I decided to rank her form 1 to 10 (10 being the best) in how well she has improved.

Halter Breaking - 8, has a tiff every now and then about taking the halter off or putting it on but other than that shes an angel.

Leading - 6.5, has personal bubble issues, as in she doesn't realise that she cant be in our space when leading, so she leans right in and stays close, which is a security issue with her she gets close when shes afraid.

Tie Up - 7.5, haven't had any issues so far but she will still try to back up a bit when shes uncomfortable.

Grooming - 9, hasn't got an issue in the world with touching her all over anymore, you can chuck the lead around her and let it slap her and she wont budge, the only issue is balance when it comes to picking up her feet, she needs to prepare herself before you pick up the hind ones.

Wash bay - 8, for the first time the other day I was able to tie her up in the wash bay, hose her all over and scrub her clean. She did really well!

Overall her main issue at the moment is that she needs to focus on more than one thing. She is the kind of horse who will focus on what your doing, grooming or whatever, and if something else goes on like a big bang or something she will freak out a bit.

Monday, 1 December 2008


Our internet at home hasnt been working for about month now so when its back on there will be an extra large post on Gracies progress, and believe me there is alot of it!!

Stay tunned!


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Progress, AGAIN!

Ok, so last Friday I took Gracie out to do some work on being groomed and being tied up. We started of in the arena, threading her lead through some twine, but not tying her up. I held the other end of the lead as I curry combed her all the way to her hip. She did fairly well, kept taking steps back but stopped when she felt the pressure of her being tied up.

Then I got the lunge whip to touch her all over her body. I really wanted her to accept being touched on the hind end and hind legs. She freaked out once and took off, but accepted the whip touching her legs without kicking. I then pushed my luck and ran my hand down her foreleg, eventually picking up both front feet for a couple of seconds. I left it at that for the day.

Tuesday I came back from leave, so decided to pick up where I left off. I was able to comfortably pick up her front feet and hold them for short periods. I also got Anira's old fly vale on her! Gracie is quite head shy, especially around the years, I think she may have been man handled as a young foal. I led her into the stable, she followed nervously, but seemed to trust that I wouldn't put her in danger. Beckham was calling for her when he couldn't see her anymore, which didn't help. She was quite nervous and clung to me. I took her halter off, took some pictures, then put her halter back on again, the second time we have done so. She was perfect about being re-haltered.

I then let her have a run around in the arena. I tacked up Becks, with full intentions of riding but I changed plans and introduced Gracie to the concept of being led from another horse. I did it in the round yard, she freaked out at first, wondering what I was doing up there. She kind of got the idea, but needs a lot more work with that, unsurprisingly.

I then attempted to school Becks, but all the horses decided to run a muck, Grace included. She was so naughty!! She galloped straight for Becks and I, did a sliding stop right in front of us, reared right up spun around, double barreled at us, then took of down the other end of the arena! Beckham did his usual "I'm a big Arab stud" impersonation. I managed to get a few good circles from him at the walk, so I got off at that point.

A while later Nat came out and helped me pick up all four of Gracie's feet, and I was even able to grab her tail and play with it for a little while. She was perfect! We are really proud of her.

On to the pictures!!!

In the fly veil - see her little tongue poking out?

And in the stable. Those soft eyes are deceiving.

Looking very Andy in this one. In the face at least anyway.

Ignoring the big bum.... LOOK!! I'm picking her hoof!!!!! They need trimming. Hopefully will be able to in the next two weeks.

Bit of a confo shot. See the long feetsies? It's killing me to look at them.

From Beckham's back. :P

And a video. Yay.


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Water Sports

Yesterday was a late start for us. We got to the paddock around 11.30 am after buying some TopTails to help brush out the dredlocks in her mane. She did so well, we are really proud of her.


She's been out in a yard for a few days now, and it really agrees with her! She's looking so good.

Once her mane was brushed out, we took them both down to the dam. We were hoping Becks would teach her how to splash in the water. She hesitated at first, not wanting to get in. Then she surprised us by launching herself head first into the water! Not knowing what to do, she took her cue from Becks and started pawing the water. Then she took it one step further, rolling four or five times in the muddy water.

So then we decided to introduce her to the hose. Living in the yard next to the wash bay helped prepare her for this I think. She did really well again, letting us hose her all over. She even took the hose between her teeth.

Then we had a run around the arena after having a roll in the sand. Naw.

And that was our Saturday.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Happy Birthday Becks!

Becks turned 18 today!
He was so full of himself today too, really enjoyed being a horse for once.

I let them have a run around the arena together.

Why can't I get him to trot like that under saddle?

Again with the feeling good.

Look what Gracie can do now! She now leads quite well, except through gates. That takes a little extra encouragement. We took her down to the dam today. She was an angel. Very very proud. :D

She is really coming along now. We are able to pet her all down her neck, to her withers, down to the top of her fore legs. I can now stand beside her and she will stand there and generally be ok with that. She is getting easier to catch now too, might be able to start taking the halter off her in a few weeks.

Very happy.


Monday, 13 October 2008

Fun Sunday

Sunday Nat and I went to the paddock. IT was hot, so I worked with Gracie for a while (Natalie was wearing thongs) and then we took Becks down to the dam for a swim.

We are now able to lead Gracie around her yard. So we decided to lead her to the round yard (with a little help from Beckham and carrots) and then do a little work in there with her for a change. She was pretty good. She responded well to light halter pressure, except going through gates seems to be a little bit of an issue for her. Going into the round yard was scary too, because the gate has a connecting pole along the top she had to go under. Once in there, I led her around, teaching her how to change direction and trying to get her to be by my side. Then, I got a lunge whip, and tried first off to just have it in her space, and not have her react to it, then I touched her shoulder with it, until she did not react anymore. Every time she took a step back (her way of getting out of things), I asked her to come forward the same amount of steps. When I first touched her with the whip, she nearly jumped out of her skin! She really does hate being touched. I was able to eventually pat her shoulder with the whip without her moving her feet. This took about 10 minutes. I then took the lead off and let her trot around me, til I saw her start to dip her head in want to come in to me. I didn't push this too hard as it was hot. We then let her graze in there with a bucket of water while Becks, Nat and I went to the dam.

We led Grace back to her yard without Beckham to go first. It took quite a while to convince her that the gate would not bite her, but she got there in the end. We then let her graze just outside the arena, and while we were doing things (washing buckets, bringing chaff bag over, wheeling the wheelbarrow past) we stopped near her and petted her. You can now officially touch her almost anywhere on her head and ears, over her eyes, play with her forelock, open her lips to look at her teeth (She still has all her baby teeth from what I can see, so that puts her at under 2), all without her protesting much. As soon as you try to go further though, she turns tail and gets out of there! But last week she did this when we tried patting her on her forehead, so there is major improvement. Next step - patting the neck!

You want pictures?
(Captions below)

Leading around her yard. It's a dust bowl. She will move to another yard (with grass!!) soon.

Teaching her to come to the pressure

A nice one, with her relaxed and not moving or leaning her body away from me.

The whip in her space. She was quite interested in it.

Trying to 'escape'. Taking steps back, head up, body leaned away from me.

Just hanging out, letting her get used to the idea.

Looking back at these photos, I'm really quite proud of her!


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Some pics

Not much riding going on.
Infact, no riding going on. :(

Despite daylight savings having started last Sunday, a sore back, tummy bugs, and various other reasons have kept me off Becks. I did lounge him once though. He wasn't too pleased about that. I'm hoping to get on him this week.

In other news, things with Gracie are traveling at a steady, albeit slow, pace. She has backed off the bratty attitude a little, but has started trying to shit me by doing the 'I can touch you, but you are NOT allowed to touch me!' thing. It's frustrating. She has a better bond with Natalie I'm afraid. She just doesn't want to try for me.
I did manage to get a lead on her and lead her around a little, but she already follows easily. I was teaching her about giving to the pressure of the halter. Asking her to come to me, and giving her slack in the rope when she made an effort to move closer. I eventually was able to stand in her space and touch her nose. She didn't like it one bit, but she also didn't loose her head and try to escape. Progress, I guess.

Onto photos.
(Captions below)

Nom nom nom

Becks and Gracie sniffing with Venus, a cute quarter horse mare.

Andrew 'just chilling' with Becks. (In Andrew's words... lol)

Most of the mares on the property are coming into season now. Becks was walking around the property yesterday, sniffing all the manure piles and wet patches, getting all excited. He forgets he is a gelding sometimes.

She is quite a
nice mover already. She has an 'effortless' trot, with that little moment of suspension quite obvious. Plus she doesn't move with her head stuck straight up in the air so far.

The trouble makers, just having a graze.