Friday, 30 September 2011

It's been raining here again.

Reading Sprinklerbandit’s posts about her wondermare Izzy and Karen’s posts about her lovely gelding Hampton and Kate’s awesome jumping photos of Lucy have gotten me inspired. I want to ride, I want this summer to be amazing and fun and I want to get out there on this horse that has such potential.

To be honest, with the tiny bit of shitty schooling we have done over the winter, she has really improved despite all that and looking back I can see what we have accomplished. But I still feel like we are behind. And I know a big part of a horse learning self balance is being confident to move out. At home, we just can’t get that. We have lumpy grassy areas we can do circles in under the flood light but even on the weekend there is not much of a flat area to ride in. I have felt tiny little glimpses of balance but then the poor mare looses confidence and comes back. If we had a float and a car to tow it we could float over to the local indoor once or twice a week. But we don’t, so there is no use dreaming for now. :P

At least daylight savings starts this weekend! I’m pretty excited about having a couple of hours of sunlight to ride in of an afternoon. And seeing as I am so sick of riding in our pseudo-arena at home I am expecting to go on a lot of road rides throughout summer.

Those mares need some serious work now that they are both 5.

In other news, Chakra is still going strong. No sign of the cancer hurting her just yet, so I am hopeful for another month or so with her. She is happy and healthy right now, so that is enough for me.

Sorry I haven’t really blogged in ages. There is just nothing to report!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Happy Birthday!!

It's Allie's 5th birthday today!!

She's a big girl now. :)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Allie is a Snugglebot.

Cuddly-est-horse I have ever met.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Lazy Me

So my Saturday morning is consisting of hanging out in my hammock. Spring, I love you.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Jumpy Jumpy!

I had an awful thought - what if Allie is a horsey squib? What if she is bred to event and can't actually jump? It wouldn't surprise me as she can be a bit clueless about things so I decided to find out:

I took that (bad quality, sorry!) video and then sighed with relief. She actually can jump, and quite nicely!! Very happy.


Please feel free to laugh at my bogan jump - an old tree branch wedged on the fence and an outdoor chair. So classy.

Friday, 9 September 2011


I have not done a survey like since I was about 18!

1. Do you have a horse (or do your ride one)? color, breed, etc – 5yo arab warmblood bay mare called Allie.

2. How long have you been riding? – 18 years.

3. Synthetic or leather reins?- Leather. Synthetic suck!

4. English or Western? why? – English. Western riding is not that big in Australia, and I was taught english anyway. Plus, the few times I HAVE sat in a western saddle on a horse I hated it - felt like I was sitting with a giant box between my legs and the stirrups are too friggen long. Ick. I don't mind stock saddles for trail rides though.

5. Favorite breed? - I have had a welsh arab cross, an OTTB and now arab warmblood. I don't really have a favorite breed per se, but I love welsh ponies for their heart and courage. TB's I love for their general athleticism and arabs for their looks, endurance ability and their sweetness. I'm not a fan of the look of quarter horses, but I haven't met one that had a bad personality, they have all been easy going and obedient.

6. Favorite color? - chestnut I think. My Becks always had a lovely coat and they keep their shine well. And in the sun, you can't beat a ranga horse!!

7. Rubber or leather boots? I wear leather jodphur boots with either leather gaiters or chaps.

8. Pony or Horse? - Horse (but I secretly wish I was small enough to ride ponies!)

9. Show, games or trail? – I'm yet to show. I took my first pony to a couple of interschool gymkhanas but that's it so far. Loved games on him, but trail riding is super fun. Love it, going through water, finding logs to jump over, it is what owning and riding horses is all about. :)

10. Sunscreen or bug spray? – Weird question. Both if needed.

11. Nylon, rope or leather halter? – Nylon for tying, rope for ground work. Never wasted the money on a leather one.

12. Saddle or bareback? - I spent most of my youth riding bareback. I had a heavy stock saddle and had to walk or bike 5k's to where I kept my horse so after a couple of trips back and forth with the saddle I stopped bothering! Becks had a huge wither and bareback was uncomfortable and Allie had me off the first time I rode bareback!! But we had a bareback schooling session the other night and she was amazing.

13. Mares or Geldings? ... Stallions? - Geldings, I've never been a mare person. HOWEVER Allie is the most gelding like mare I have ever known!

14. What type of saddle do you use? – I have a KN Overture Victoriana dressage saddle. It's an Austrian saddle and it is AMAZING. I love it - a nice deep seat but I can still get up out of it, big leg rolls but they aren't restrictive. Most other saddles make my legs ache when I ride for more than an hour and a half (I have to get off and walk) but this saddle does not!!

15. Something silly about your horse’s personality? – Where do I start?! She is such a ditzy mare, but one thing she does is when she leaps into a transition (like walk to trot) she often puts in a little squeal Too cute!

16. Jumping or barrels? - my little welshie cross Pom loved both, and he rocked at both. Point and shoot type of jumper, anything you had the courage to jump he was game and if you were not brave enough, just close your eyes and he would get you to the other side safely! He also won 1st place ribbons in barrels at the gymkhanas we went to. Becks was not good at turning little circles (the one and only time i fell off him was because he turned too quick and fell over bless him) and Allie would trip over her own feet, so jumping.

17. Favorite gait? Why? - Nothing beats the thrill of a gallop. I miss galloping (Allie doesn't know she can!) and can't wait to have another flog up a hill. So I love jumping and galloping, so this is why I want to event!

18. Favorite horse movie? – Spirit, Stallion of the Cimmarron! My sister and I know all the words to that movie (even though I was too old to like it when it first came out) and I have the sound track on my iPod.

19. Favorite horse websites? Love horse blogs! I used to be an avid forum contributer but my favorite forum was sold and closed down and my other fav has been ruined by hundreds of thousands of spam posts. :( I'm yet to get into any other forums.

18. What color saddle pad, halter, etc.? – Navy blue!

19. Do you like natural horseman ship? – I hate the commercial aspect of it and how some people never get on their horses because they get stuck in the 'pre flight check' stage, as their horse doesn't 'want' to get ridden. Sorry, my horse is bloody expensive to keep, I take good care of her and she has a job to do i.e. Be ridden. BUT I use quite a few different natural horsemanship techniques with my general handling and riding. Most of it does work, just take what works for you from each style. Don't subscribe to one way as the only way!

20. Biggest achievement with horses (so far!)? – Being able to afford the buggers!

21. Appaloosa, paint or both? As long as the horse is fairly well confirmed I don't care about loud colouring BUT a paint is generally prettier.

22. Weirdest thing you've ever done with a horse? – Ridden (on numerous occasions) in McDonalds drive through AND I once rode my pony inside the shopping centre. I was the town menace.

23. Ever ridden on a beach? - No, but we are taking the horses away to the beach in November with some friends. :)

24. Ever gone camping with your horse? - not yet!!

25. How old were you when you first fell off? - I would say 12 or 13.

26. Trail ride alone or with a buddy? – I used to love riding by myself, the one on one time with my horse. But I normally ride with my sister now because I think riding alone is too dangerous on our young inexperienced mares.

27. Helmet (i hope) or not? - ALWAYS helmet, now that I'm an adult and know exactly what can happen if you don't wear one.

28. On a scale from 1-20. How much do you love horses? 20. I am still that little horse crazy girl. My mind goes like this all day: horses, hooves, Andrew, horses, Allie, work, hooves, hooves, Gracie, puppy dogs, kitty cat, hooves, Andrew, Allie aaaaand repeat.

29. Ever been really scared on a horse? Of course! Pom used to bolt on a regular basis, Becks never really scared me though, he was a total sweetheart. Allie has a rearing... thing, and I think being brave on a horse is all bluff anyway.

Blogger App

There is now a blogger app for smartphones! I'm posting from it now to test it out. :)

I'm trying to attach an image of a baby hippo too. He's pretty cute, hope it shows up. Also a picture of my car's sunroof. It's raining again. :(

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Albal tries to figure out the whole 'lunging' thing.

Last night I was going to ride, but Andrew (my husband) went out and I
was home alone, and I don't like riding when no one else is home
(especially in the dark) so I decided to lunge Allie.

Her canter is starting to come together under saddle - the other day I
was schooling her, just letting her play with being forward and
allowing canter transitions to happen rather than asking for it
specifically, as she tends to rush and fall on the forehand because
she thinks she can't do it. I pretty much just sat there lightly and
stayed out of her way and she ended up cantering a full loop of my
little pseudo-arena without even thinking about it, and she felt so
balanced and coordinated. As soon as she realized what she was doing
though, it all fell apart. Lol.

I thought I would continue that on the lunge so she could have a play
without my sack of potatoes body unbalancing her as per usual. I also
put the chambon on her (I think I have only had it on her once before
tbh) and I let her figure it out. She did really well going to the
left, wasn't fussy and marched along in the walk, lovely balanced and
rhythmic trot, and she even offered a couple of nice canter
transitions. Very nice. To the right though, she was very fussy in the
mouth (her teeth are due next week to be fair), wouldn't march along
at walk, took short, choppy strides at the trot, no tracking up and I
even had to chase her up to keep her from dropping back to a walk.
This horse holds her rhythm really well at the trot, so I wondered
what was wrong. She did work out of most if it, and then when I asked
for canter she was so balanced going that way she held it for over an
entire circle (big for her because she thinks she will fall over). It
made me scratch my head! Such sloppy yuck walk and trot, but then
lovely canter? I don't know. Maybe she was a little stiff and just
needed to work out of it.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I need a Real Plan

So I bought this four year old mare to event in the future. This
month, on the 25th, she turns 5 and in November, I would have had her
for a whole year.

I need a Real Plan, not just this wishy washy vague idea of where I
want to end up. I know that this year has been all about confidence
building, getting them out and about a little, getting to know Allie
but now that winter is finally over I need a game plan.

We have tried our best to get them out on the float, and I think we
have done well considering we don't own a float or a tow vehicle.
Allie and I have had only one dressage lesson and are way overdue for
another. At home, it is very hard to school as we don't have an arena,
just a lumpy round spot of grassy area that is relatively clear of

This summer, I would ideally like to:

- have monthly dressage lessons with Ann. I need Allie solid in walk,
trot, canter, transitions from gait to gait and preferably starting to
transition within the gaits too.
- go out to at least 1 dressage day and do the easiest peasiest test out there.
- school at home at lease twice during the week, then one road ride per
week after work and one ride somewhere (lesson, visit friend, bigger
road ride) on a Saturday.
- I want her ready to send off to be introduced to jumping in winter.
I have no idea who I would send her to but I am not confident at all
teaching her how to jump when previously I have only been the
passenger with her eyes closed throwing the reins at the horses face
to avoid bopping them in the mouth over fences. Then, while she is
being trained, I will have some jump lessons on a schoolmaster.

What do you think? What else should a 5 year old future event horse be
doing over her 5yo summer to get her on track? What should I be doing
as a rider to develop myself further? Please, leave a comment an give
me some pointers, I need it!! :) I must add that I don't intend on eventing properly until she is 6 and my goals are to event at preliminary (in Australia, jumping to 0.95 or 3.11 feet). If we absolutely love eventing and Allie is a superstar, we might move up to pre novice (1.05 or 3.44 feet). But I doubt it.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Oh, mares!

I house sat for Lisa over the weekend while she went away with her husband for their wedding anniversary. 

I had full intentions of riding on Saturday, but while I waited for my partner to get back I decided to bandage up the girls and take some photos. As soon as the camera came out they gave themselves enough of a workout that I didn't have to get on. I think they associate the camera with hard work, so lucky for me I didn't have to do much chasing to get some good shots, lol!

On to the photos!

Hi mum!

Would be nice to get some trot work like this under saddle -.-

Hover pony - voo woo woo woo

She's a silly twit :p

So graceful Allie

Allie's starting to grow some balls and stand up for herself lol!

The invisible creek they have made up in their minds

Gracie the two legged horse

having a break

"I'm gunna getcha!"

Albal the rocking horse

Sometimes the pretty warmblood Allie comes out to play

My little dog eddie (nick named eddie peg-leggie, or just eggie). He lives with Lese as a companion dog for Chakra. They grew up together and we don't have the heart to separate them.

Friday, 2 September 2011


I wrote the following in comments on another blog ad i have been meaning to post it here for a while:

I can't get Smartpak here (Sydney Australia) but I still did the wizard thing to see what they would recommend for my horse. She is a 4 yo, lightly ridden arab warmblood that is just being a baby and getting started. They recommended a pack that cost $170 a month! Wowie! Some people have too much money to waste...

I give (in the way of suppliments/additives) mostly raw minerals:

1 Tablespoon dolomite
1/2 tablespoon yellow dusting sulphur
5 mils cod liver oil
10-15 mils apple cider vinegar (15 mils is about half an ounce)

Every second day
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon linseed crushed (flaxseed you call it)

1/2 teaspoon copper sulphate

As needed
Course of 3-5 days of psyllium husks
PLENTY of turnout with no rugs for vitamin D

Mare herbal calmative mix (for the crazy mare)

Ad lib
Seaweed meal (sometimes they eat huge amounts of this, sometimes none at all. I like to always have it out if I can).
Himalayan pink rock salt (this stays out in the weather really well!)

Honestly, this doesn't cost me much at all. The dolomite came in a 25kg (55 lb) bag that cost me about $15, and it will last me probably 3 years. 3 kg of yellow dusting sulphur lasts me about 1 year. I have only ever had to by coper sulphate once about 4 years ago, and I have only used about a third of it. The seaweed meal is probably the most expensive to be hinest, but it is still only about $30-40 for 5 kg. Honestly, best way to suppliment.

I read a great book called Natural Horse Care by Pat Coleby (it's an aussie book, but still worth a read). I have been supplimenting her way for about 5 years now and I have never had a problem. She really advocates keeping vitamin B12 shots on hand in case of emergencies.

• For calcium and magnesium (safest form to feed calcium, as there is no chance of a magnesium reduction). Ca and Mg must be kept in balance at all times, can be fatal if they get out of balance.
• Apparently in the US, feed is grown on land that has levels of Mg higher than Ca. In Australia, it is the opposite.
• Ca and Mg can only be absorbed when there is enough boron, copper and vitamin A and D in the diet.

Copper Sulphate (bluestone)
• Copper (for bones, hooves and hair) – darker horses need 6 times more copper (and tolerate over feeding of copper better) than lighter horses. Needed for general health and immunity, especially with fungal problems. And yes, I feed it to help with worms as internal parasites are only found in animals with insufficient copper! (I also worm them, just to make sure, but I use a 12 week wormer so that they don’t get wormed so often. I don’t like over dosing on wormer.) Dark horses with a bleached coat are low in copper. Without copper, iron cannot be used properly in the body. Most animals with an iron deficiency usually have sufficient iron and not enough copper (especially in Australia where iron levels in the ground where feed is grown are usually quite sufficient). Iron supplements will not work without copper. My old gelding had battled with anaemia for about 12 months (with regular iron supplements) until I started supplementing copper. He recovered very very quickly and never had an issue again. I feed blue copper sulphate once a week to make up for any shortfalls, but it is also found in seaweed meal. This is just a habit because of my old (chestnut) gelding, and as my new horse is a very dark bay, she can tolerate higher levels anyway. The grey we are careful to not over supplement with copper.
• Also good to mix with a carrier agent (like petroleum jelly) and rub into the underside of the hoof to destroy thrush infections.

Yellow Dusting Sulphur (Sulphur), also known as ‘flowers of sulphur’ and ‘milling sulphur’
• Amino acids, amino acids, amino acids!! Including but not limited to:
o The amino acids in YDS assimilate selenium, which is needed for healthy muscles, and is especially important in growing animals (my horses are both still growing). Selenium deficiencies can lead to muscular dystrophy and white muscle disease. Once my horses are fully grown, I will probably reduce the amount of YDS I supplement.
o Amino acid cysteine for keratin – for healthy hooves and hair (along with copper, see bleached coated dark horses above).
• To keep external parasites at bay.
• A horse with skin problems will often have sulphur deficiencies. Can be used externally (rubbed into the skin) for this as well as internally.
• I have not had a problem with sulphur affecting calcium.
• To answer your biotin question, I couldn’t tell you. I have never supplemented biotin. Sorry! :)
• Potassium which if deficient can cause constriction of capillaries which can be a contributing factor in navicular disease, and also is important in breeding horses and pregnant mares (which neither of us needs to worry about lol!). Potassium must also be in correct levels with sodium.
• Yes, I do feed it internally to discourage biting insects.
Cod Liver Oil
• Vit A for vaginal, eye, skin and hair health. If your horse is kept underneath electrical overhead power lines, than he may not be able to synthesise his own vitamin A. My first pony was kept under power lines for a few years and his general health during that time was quite poor. Once moved from the power lines, he returned to robust health!!
• Vit D for bones and calcium absorption. Horses can synthesise their own vitamin D if they have sufficient sunlight, but reduced daylight hours in winter and rugging makes this impossible for them. I feed more cod liver oil in the winter, and I try not to rug them at all if they don’t absolutely need it. Properly fed horses will not get a bleached coat from the sun in summer! (My horse’s coat bleached badly last summer, and I think general ill health from injury and poor appetite (not eating all her supplements) contributed to this.
• Omega 3, as you said.
• Natural anti-biotic.
• Contains natural sulphur.
• Helps with internal parasites, and is thought to discourage biting insects.

• I am just getting rid of the rest of the linseed that I had bought, once it is finished I will discontinue it because everything else I feed is making up any shortfalls that linseed helps with.

Seaweed Meal (amazing stuff!!)
• Boron for proper utilisation of calcium and magnesium. Needed in only small amounts, will damage liver if fed too much (that’s why I feed seaweed meal ad-lib). (You could also feed Borax for boron if your horses diet is especially deficient).
• Cobolt for bones and healthy red blood cells. If deficient, can cause death within 4 days, with the animal displaying only a general listlessness and lowered temperature at first. Vitamin B12 injection will turn the animal around. Cobolt only needed in very very small amounts, and can be toxic if over fed. Again, this is why sea weed meal is fed ad-lib.
• Iodine for healthy thyroid gland (which controls all the other glands too). All other minerals etc. Will not be assimilated properly without iodine. Australia is particularly iodine deficient. A scurfy (dandruffy) horse will be iodine deficient.
• Selenium – SWM is the safest way to supplement selenium, but requires certain amino acids from sulphur to be assimilated (see above).
• Sodium – correct levels essential. Needs to be in balance with potassium. Horses generally don’t need extra salt if the other minerals are in balance, and will generally ignore a salt lick if they don’t need sodium. Best to feed salt ad-lib. If they are wanting to eat a lot of salt, ensure they are getting enough potassium, by feeding ACV in the diet. In excess, sodium suppresses potassium, causes fluid retention and can be a factor in some cancers.
• Zinc for healthy reproductive systems (the grey mare needs help with her cycles, even though we will not breed from her). Too much zinc can suppress copper. Ad-lib supplementation is best.

Other notes:

• Phosporus (which needs to be balanced with calcium and magnesium) will look after itself if the rest of the minerals are in balance. Supplementation is generally not required.
• Vitamin B12 injections – should be kept on hand at all times and always given with antibiotics and if the horse has any ill health at all.
• Vaccinations deplete vitamin C which can be fatal.
• Too many different vitamins to list in a comment, but there is a lot of literature about to read and if all the minerals are in balance and the horse is being fed properly, then the vitamins will generally look after themselves.

I hope that answers most of your questions!! :)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Spring spring spring spring spring!!!!!


I am so excited for spring. Spring means to me the anticipation of daylight savings, feed costing less, warm sunny days while still getting a good nights sleep. It means currying your horse til your arm falls off, while your horse looks less patchy every day. Perfect riding (and trimming) weather. The water trough being emptier at the end of the day than you have seen it in months. Grass, clover, bees and the beginning of flies (where do they go in winter?!). Rugging less and less until that magical night where they stay naked and you know you are on the home stretch for summer.

We got Gracie in spring.

Spring is happy geldings sniffing mare pee.

Spring is fat happy ponies.

Spring is playing in the dam!

I love spring. I really do.