Saturday, 26 February 2011

Trail Ride

Today Casey came over with her arab filly Saaleenh to come out with us in hand while we had a trail ride. All three girls did well, even though Gracie threw a little tantrum after she got stuck in reverse and sat down on a spiky tree stump. Silly mare. The look on her face was funny though, she totally blamed Natalie for that even though it was her own fault.

Allie looking up the trail. She was power walking!
Casey in the backgroundwith Saaleenh, Natalie on Grace in front.
Happy(ish) ponies posing for a photo.

Thanks Casey for coming out!


My husband and I are moving house! We have been trying to find somewhere we can continue to keep the horses a home, closer to work for me, nicer house, better fencing, etc etc etc... And we have found a place! We were approved yesterday morning. It's a neat little 2.5 acre property, 3 stables with attached lockable garage, 4 fully fenced paddocks, with post and rail fencing, nice house perfect for entertaining, big dog run, plus a cat cage, double garage. The rent is much more expensive though, but not out of our budget. We have been having trouble at the place we are at now for a little while and while I am sad to go, I'm looking forward to a real kitchen (my current house is not much bigger than a caravan), proper storage space, a BATHTUB!! And a neat and tidy tack/feed room! Can't wait!

Thursday, 24 February 2011


Ooooooooohhhh....... aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.......
My pretty new saddle is here! I am now the proud owner of the KN Ouverture Victoria (which I can never remember how to spell and I need to Google it every time.....). It's second hand but it doesn't have any major scratches or faults and I am super happy with it. I had a quick ride in it after the saddler left from dropping it off and it was so nice to ride my horse properly again. She is all healed up now and ready to go! Her scar is a very very thin line, you wouldn't see it if I didn't point it out to you. That is all I had to say really!

Ears pricked, ready for a ride?

I'm chuffed but I'm not sure Allie is too pleased about the end of her holiday...

Friday, 18 February 2011

Saddle required now please...

I called that saddler on my lunch break yesterday to ask if he had a saddle for me yet... He said that he does!! He is coming out next Tuesday to fit it to her! I'm so excited, I will be able to get back on track with her.

I got sick of waiting and decided to hop on bareback on Tuesday night. It went well, except... I came off. She did this weird leapy kicky bouncy thingy and I just bailed because I had no chance of sitting it out. In the process I got my thumb caught on the rein and it was pulled quite hard. It was very sore! I wonder how it made her mouth feel. :(

But, I kept my dignity and landed on my feet (albeit in a crouch to keep my head out of flying hoofie range), and then I just led her back to the mounting block (read: garden chair) and remounted. I can't say I wasn't a tad worried about her doing it again, but I was on alert and the worst she did after that was stamp at flies. Cheeky pony miss. Does that count as my first fall from her? She seemed a bit surprised that I was down on the ground, I don't think anyone has fallen off her before.

So stand by for some updated saddled stories! Last bit of summer trail riding, here we come!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Why I fell in love with Gracie

When I first met Gracie, she looked terrible. She had a horrible dread-locked mane, her winter coat had started to grow out but hadn't yet fallen off. She looked like what you would imagine a 2 year old un-handled filly would look like. But she was different, she was young, she hadn't been ruined by other peoples mistakes, she was a blank canvas.

The first few weeks of owning her, I had mixed emotions. I felt like an idiot, I was scared of her, she was new but so different to what I was used to. The only thing that kept me coming back to see her was the sense of accomplishment I got when she finally let me touch her head, then put a halter on, taught her to lead, then get her comfortable with touching all over. We didn't have a bond, she was teaching me and I was teaching her, and that's what it was all about at first.

She taught me a lot in the first year. She taught me patience, she taught me that little things for me, were big things for her. I loved her a lot and I never wanted to replace her, but there was still a hole that hadn't been filled yet.

Everything changed once we left agistment and moved her to Lisa's property. All of a sudden I had a confidence boost. I wasn't afraid to try anything new with her, and she wasn't afraid to try for me. She started whinnying and pricking her ears up when I arrived, she paid attention to me, I wasn't just some human that was an annoyance in her otherwise perfect spoilt life, she loved me and I loved her.

Now I realise what it is about her that makes her irreplaceable in my heart - she is a snotty brat, she tests me, we push each others buttons (I am just as opinionated as her!), she doesn't believe in being polite for a treat, she thinks it's ok to pull grumpy faces at me or Lisa when we bring her feed bucket in, she hates the vet, and the dentist, an the saddler and pretty much ANYONE who tries to walk into her life and push her into something she would otherwise be ASKED to do... BUT.. She will try for me, she trusts me, she does ANYTHING I ask of her (sometimes puts up a fight just for fun), she whinnies at me, she hogs the attention when there's other horses around, she will give me cuddles if I need them, she knows who I am, she knows I'm her mum and she loves me to bits.

And that's why I am in love with her. Because even with all her mood swings and faults, I know at the end of the day that we are two peas in a pod, we need each other so we can grow up learning what life is all about.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Why do they call it 'floating'?

The trailer certainly does NOT FLOAT like you are on a boat or on a cloud. It was scary!

We did some float training on Saturday morning with the girls. Gracie has only traveled on a float once, and that was on new year's day when they escaped, and that was in an exceptional circumstance because it was hot, they were scared and exhausted and and and... she needs to learn to get on and travel. So we borrowed the neighbor's float and away we went. Natalie did almost all the handling of Gracie to get her on. It took about an hour to get her to the point where we locked her in there. She is TERRIFIED of the float. So proud though, she kept her head and didn't loose it. I was in the float with her, and it was VERY VERY SCARY. I knew it was that scary, but I have never traveled in the back with it moving before! After, she even backed out slowly and stopped halfway down the ramp, then all the way off, then after a sec, she popped back on again. She was patient and waited when we opened the tailgate. Yay! Float training WIN!

See her poor eyeballs about to fall out of her head?

She was dripping with sweat and was trembling. She was even breathing so hard that she sucked her nostrils closed and couldn't breathe!

Not any worse off after her 'experience'. As soon as she was off the float, all was well!

Allie was a boof head. She was happy to get on the float, but just didn't think. She tried to get in from the side of the ramp, she tried to rush in, she tried to rush out, she was just being d.u.m.b. But she tried, and that is the main part. I have no worries about having trouble getting her in and out of the float, she will do it, but now it is about getting in and out the RIGHT way. Bimbo!

Licky chewy icky spewy. Check out the sweat!

How cute is that face!? Also, I think I have my eyes closed... hrm.

Ignore me - I'm growing a baby apparently...*

I had to take out the stallion divider because when she was loading she kept putting her head on the wrong side of it! See what I mean by bimbo?!

In other news, today they were super cute in the paddock, so I took a little video;

*No babies, promise!

Having Ponies in Your Backyard = Best Thing Ever

Sunday, 13 February 2011


I read a post over on The Literary Horse this morning. She's asking why you fell in love with your horse.

I fell in love with Wombat at first sight. I was 12 and saw this great big (well, I thought back then!) grey horse standing at the gate. I loved him from right then, the way only a twelve year old girl could. I had him from 1996 til 2003, all through high school and a couple of years after. He got me through my parents divorce, bullying, first boyfriends and break ups, plus all the other horrible crappy things that you have to go through in order to be a 'grown-up'. I was in love with that horse because he was always there, always waiting. I still love him because I feel he is still waiting for me somewhere. I feel him give me confidence when I am nervous on a horse. I still to this day just pretend that I am riding him, and then I can trust the horse. Anything Pom dished out, I could handle. Therefore, anything this horse can dish out, I can handle. Confidence is just a bluff anyway, right?


Becks was a different story. I had lost Pom about 6 months earlier when Beckham came on the scene. I got him thorough a friend of a friend's friend. He was a free horse too. The guy was too old to look after him properly anymore, and he just wanted him to go to a good home. We did not click. He was totally different to what I was used to and he wasn't sure what I was all about either. He had a few health issues too, and the tiny bit of rapport we built up was totally shattered when I needed to float him to the vet clinic for eye surgery. He refused to get on. I had very little experience trailering too, and the whole day ended in tears for me. My horse didn't trust me. He had loaded fine for his last owner when I went to pick him up, and I felt terrible. I ended up having to hire a professional horse-truck driver to get him to the clinic a few days later.

Our love was a slow moving one. By the time I had him at home with me, I loved him just as much, if not more then I had loved Pom. I couldn't tell you when the turning point was, or what set it off, because there was no one little thing. It just crept up on us, and then I realised we were dependent on each other. I had him from 2003 til 2010. I have written before about our one moment of perfection under saddle, and that was like the culmination of all the years of hard work, but I always had a soft spot for him. Always.

Allie is an enigma. I love her certainly, but mostly because I know I'm supposed to. I'm not yet in love with her, but I am starting to see certain things about her personality that I know will form part of the puzzle that will lead to me being in love with her. Things like when she leaps into a trot she does a silly little squeal, or how she LOVES cuddles and will come up to you and put her head on your chest for one. She is just... so dumb sometimes! She is a quick learner, and she is quiet, but she is certainly not a clever thing. I'm used to clever horses like Gracie (who is FAR too clever and smart for her own good!) and Pom, and even Becks was smart because he had a lot of life experience. I expect Allie will become like Becks once she has been out and about. She is just off with the fairies half the time. Kind of like me I guess!

Friday, 11 February 2011


I'm a bit disappointed. I am attending a hoof trimming workshop in March, and I was so exited about taking Allie with me... then when I finally got around to paying, there were no spots left for 'full participants' - people who can bring their horses. I can still attend, just as an 'auditor' only. Boo. It is a basic level course, but I need to attend to be able to go to one of their advanced workshops. There are ones in Canberra and Cowra in April (around my birthday) that I would love to take Allie to, but it's a bit of a hike for one day only! Maybe if I can stay overnight with her at the host's property. Might work out. They almost NEVER run courses in Sydney!

I realised yesterday that I have been trimming horses since I was 12 years old. That is coming up to 15 years this year. Wow.

I was 12 when I had just gotten Pom. We had the farrier out a few times to have his feet trimmed and Pom hated him. He didn't like most men, except for my dad actually. He was mucking up, popping in little rears and trying to get away from the farrier, as he was rough and mean and not polite at all. Then, when Pom pulled his hoof out of the farrier's hand, the farrier lost it and started to beat him with the rasp. I was mortified, and my mother never ever had a farrier out to see Pom again. Instead, she bought me my first rasp, and without any form of knowledge or training, I had at my poor pony's feet. I asked Mum and her friend that owned the other horse in the paddock what to do, and I remember Karen saying "just file them like you would your own nails". So I did. I didn't know what I was doing back then, but I realise now that it was a basic mustang roll. I never touched the bottom of his feet, and I don't even think I set his heels or anything. I did A LOT of road riding back then, and luckily he had amazing feet anyway, so I doubt I did any major damage. He never went lame anyway, and he was as fit as an endurance arab, riding 6+ hours a day during the school holidays. I wish I had taken solar shots of his feet. I have some pics of his feet from the side, but I will need to find and scan them. He had four white feet. Never had a problem with them. :)

I'm starting to realise (it's been a slow process, I know) that I want to do this seriously. I've been thinking of doing a Diploma of Equine Podiotherapy for a couple of years now. I might try to have a crack at it next year maybe? It's almost $5000, 12 months distance study with a bunch of 5-6 day long blocks of visiting the centre in Victoria for practical exams and the such. I would LOVE to do that.

I do worry about the dissections and cadaver trims though. I am going to do a cadaver trim at my course in March and I do hope I can look past the 'this used to be a living breathing horse' to see the amazing way the hoof works. I have been present at dissections of horses before (with my 2 year Diploma of Horse Industry Management course which I was 6 months off finishing when I gave up. Oops..) and I struggled with it. Especially the horse head class. I was near hyperventilating in the next room and it took almost a whole hour for one of my classmates to coax me into the room to at least have a look. Which I did, then I ran away again. I WAS only 18-19 at the time though. Maybe I've matured. I sure hope so!

In other news, Allie and Gracie are slowly coming back in to work. Still no word from the saddler - I would like to hop on next week, and it looks like it may have to be bareback! Wish me luck!

Thursday, 3 February 2011


So, like I said in my last post, it has been super hot here over the last few weeks. For about a week now it has been 37-42 deg celsius every day. (104-108 fahrenheit). Poor Allie sweats so much, every day her entire back is covered in salt crystals. I'm giving her electrolytes every day to help replenish the lost electrolytes, but the sweat makes her coat bleach even worse than it already is. Check this out:

This is Allie's off side just behind her wither. The darker area is where she lost hair from a Gracie bite and new hair has grown in. That is the colour she is SUPPOSED to be! All around is her old bleached coat colour, which looks YUCK!

Now, the simple, easy solution is to keep a rug on her. Which I would do, if the weather would just cool down a little. Sadly, I live in the HOTTEST part of Sydney! It is always the hottest temperature in Penrith, and my poor animals cop it. The best I can do for them is fill up as much water as I can and hose themoff if I'm home. It's WAY too hot for any cotton rug. I did see one today that is the lightest cotton material that would be perfect. Except I'm broke. So I have to put up with my dun horse. Ah well. If she was ever going to look this gross, better off now while I'm not taking her anywhere I guess.

She had another lunge today. We had one farty buck but she was otherwise good. Grace is still not back in work because she did this:

Weird blown-up knee

She was stiff on it at first, but there was no heat. She is fine now and I think she can come back on the lunge next week. There is still a little fluid over the knee though, but it is recovering from the mystery injury slowly but surely.

So that is where we are at with the ponies right now!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


Lets see what we have here...

January Goals:

  1. Keep Allie's wound infection-free. Help it heal 100%
This one has gone really well! Here is the wound after two days:

And here it is today (1 whole month after the injury):

 (White stuff is from the elastoplast)

I’m very happy with it. Last night when I got home from work, Allie’s bandage had become so soaked with sweat that it was all bunched up around her knee not covering anything at all. (It’s been absolutely scorching this week, yesterday reached 40o Celcius and we got to 42 o Celcius today![104-108 o Fahrenheit]. Hence the sweat). So I didn't bother bandaging it again because I’m having trouble keeping it on and I don’t really think it needs it anymore anyway. The vet said to wrap it for 4 weeks. It’s been just over. I’m just chuffed. She had her first day back in work today! More on that below...
  1. Put some more weight back on Allie.
Also success. It’s been hard though, because of the heat and they still didn’t settle to eat their dinner for ages. But I have sourced some (expensive) top quality meadow/rye mix hay that they are eating every skerrick of. Good quality forage helps! She is at the point now where more weight is not needed really, but some muscle building and she needs some nice cool days so she isn’t so tucked up! When it’s hot she becomes tucked up, it makes her look worse. She drinks plenty (I have a webcam on them all day that I can log in and check to see how often they drink, which is plenty...) so that can’t be it. I’m rambling now. Onto the next point.
  1. Teach Allie to lower her head on command. She is not bad about it, just she is a very tall horse when she wants to be!
Fail. I didn’t even do one training session on this. Instead I taught her how to trot up while being led, like if I were to trot her out for a judge or vet. She had NO CLUE how to do it before. It only took one session! Good girl!
  1. Tie-up training with Allie. I am thinking of getting one of those Blocker Tie Rings to help.
Semi-win on this one. I am REALLY reluctant to just tie her to something solid and let her work it out. She has become so much better about being ‘tied’ (i.e. I wrap the lead around something, but if she pulls hard it will give her slack, like the idea behind those tie rings I mentioned). She hasn’t once pulled back or panicked while using this method. And I leave her to go grab the brushes from the shed or grab my phone when it’s ringing for example, and she has been fine. I still want the tie ring, but she’s doing well with my el-cheapo solution. Also, she is so good about standing still when not tied anyway, I never tie her to hose her off and she barely takes a step, I hardly ever tied her to do her bandages, so I’m really only worried about it when I eventually take her out.
  1. Teach her to pick up her feet on cue. She is quite bad at actually picking up her feet.
Win. She is very good with this now, just from me picking them up every day in the paddock and not even having a proper schooling session on it.

Ok, goals for February:
1.    Continue to build up fitness and muscle slowly. Hopefully get back on by the end of the month (this will be easy, I’m itching to get on, even if it’s just bareback!).
2.    Teach her to lower her head, for bridling especially. I noticed she is a bit narky with this, raising her head when the bit comes toward her teeth.
3.    School her to have manners when being trimmed. She was a monster last time!
4.    Borrow a float and have a floating lesson or two if possible. I want both of them self loading!
5.    Have a lesson myself on a school horse. I am so so so rusty, and my only real talent before was the ability to stick to a horse’s back! I want my toes especially to FACE FORWARD! They currently feel like they are forward, but both toes turn out a ridiculous amount when I ride. It’s embarrassing!

So today, Allie had her first day back at work. She only had a very short, 15 minute marching-walk-sedate-trot session on the lunge, and it was still pretty hot so she was an angel. The worst thing she did was not come back to walk for almost a full circle from the trot, but she was stretching and feeling herself and trying very hard to be a good girl so I was very happy with the session as a whole. She tracks up so much in the walk! Even when she is walking along almost asleep. Me likey.

Little shit put up a small resistance to being caught though. She does this hilarious thing where she will do a little squeal and jump into trot or canter to get a few strides away from you when she doesn’t want to be caught. She gives up pretty quick if you persist though. I’ll have to try to film it, it’s adorable (but naughty!). She hardly ever does it though, so I’m not complaining.

Alright, enough words.

My adorable little staffy Chakra. She is 11 this year!

After a hose, which is why she looks so dark.

Itchy face!

Looking so much like a TB.


Having a pick.

Two peas in a pod.