Monday, January 26, 2009

Beautiful Weather, Kids and Horses.

Last week we has some of the nicest low humidity Louisiana weather ever. Now this past weekend was super cold, with rain, wind, and 40 degrees. But during the week it was beautiful. So, I decided to work some horses and to break out my bike with it's trailer. The kids and I went for a bike ride first. The last time I took them for a ride was probably October. Cowpokette wasn't quite big enough and she would slide down and she didn't like it at all. Now that she is bigger, I have a hard time getting to get her out of the bike trailer. Both Cowpokes fit all snug together. I think the day we went bike riding it was 70 degrees or so, but it was windy so I had them wear jackets. Cowpokette just wanted to go!! And we soon were off. It's fun riding with the kids. They sit so quietly and just enjoy the ride. Until Little Cowpoke will pull Cowpokette's hair. Then there is screaming and crying and I have to make him hug his sister and then it's all better. My sister asked me if my kids should be wearing helmets. I never really thought of it. If my bike falls over then just my bike falls. Then she asked, "What if a car hits you." Well, I would actually have to have traffic on my road for that to happen. So, I guess I am just unsafe because my kids weren't wearing helmets. But anyway, now onto something way more exciting. Shaggy's Foolish Lady.Lady's Mother was a blood bay mare. She was a barrel racer, and I am not sure of her breeding. We called her Flashy. But again, all I know about her is that she was registered with AQHA. Lady's Dad, was a grandson of Boston Mac. He was 16 hands tall and jet black. So, the bay mare and the black stallion gave us this sorrel mare. Lady was born on April Fool's Day. She belonged to my brother in law, who's nick name was Shaggy. So, her registered name became, Shaggy's Foolish Lady. And boy was she a handful. I met Lady when she was four years old. I could have sworn she would have made the NFR bucking horse of the year. That mare can buck. She bucked me off once, I cried. I have never cried falling off a horse before. But the saddle horn and I met in ways we were not supposed to. I called my husband and told him that I felt like I was rapped by a prison inmate. It was horrible. But I still liked her and wanted to ride her. I would ride her all over. We even started doing some small cross rail jumps. Lady is a natural athlete. She excels at what ever job you give her. At that time I was the only one experienced enough to ride her. Lady was really sensitive and would over react to everything. Then I got pregnant and stopped riding her. That is when my father in law took over working her. Lady ended up jumping through the round pen twice. She was just nuts. And after having my baby, I wasn't too excited about getting back up on that crazy horse. So, my father in law sent her to a really old man named Jerry. The old man was 70 and the perfect cure for Lady. She came back awesome! Well, Mr. Cowboy rides Lady in the rodeos. She does well on barrels. So, we have a rodeo coming up and I decided to work her a bit in the round pen. Does this look like a horse that has not been working in 6 months? Look, she looks like she is going to fall asleep. But don't let looks deceive you. She has bucked off four people and is super fast. Wild Woman! Oh, and she also has some conformation faults. Here she is a a jog. Can any of you see it? I love her butt!! But that is not what I am talking about. Let's speed up her trot to see if you can really see what I am talking about.You see it? She has a "U" neck. It's funky and it makes her carry her head all weird. Let me stop her and show you. The top of her neck is way longer than the bottom. You can see how it arches right behind her ears. And then her neck is just way too short on the bottom side. Plus her shoulder isn't the best, and you can't tell by this picture but she has a long back. But I like her still. Let's go the other way. I think Lady is really stiff in her shoulders. I have done some bending with her on the ground and she acted really stiff. Let's see her move this direction. The slower job, the funky neck. And it's so hard to believe that she is a Blue Papered AQHA mare. I would have thought she had Thoroughbred on her papers. Now a bit faster. This girl has some serious reach.Just look at that! You can really see her weird neck and longer back there. And you would think she was super bumpy, but really she isn't bad, when you have her collected. Now you must see what she was doing at the canter. She was popping up on her front end and acting all weird. How off balance can one horse look? It looks like someone has a rope around her head and is holding it uncomfortably high. Weird. And look how short strided she is here in the front. Again, the head is super high, and she was popping up on that front end. For having such a great big strided trotting she surely doesn't show that big stride cantering. What do you think? Hallow back, unbalanced, short strided, high head carriage. You would think she was lame but nope, she is sound. I think her conformation just has the best of her. Oh, and then she tried to act all spunky. Lady started to hold her tail up and snort. It was strange because she is a horse that normally is really passive in the round pen. She is kind of scared of the round pen. So, I was glad to see her acting brave. We trotted a bit more and then I just let her relax and we did some bending. I think next time I will need to work her with a surcingle. To help her with balance and collection. So, okay all you barrel racers. Here is the big question. What is the best way to teach a big horse like this to turn around the barrels? How should we practice our turns? Right now she is doing alright, but not as tight as we would like, and sometimes she gets all rubber necked and will swing her butt around and keep her head turned way to the inside. We started riding a lot more off of leg and putting more weight in the inside stirrup during turns, but what else can we do in slow work to help her out? Oh, and Cowpokette really wanted to ride. She brought me her helmet and wanted to get on. She thought Lady was Peanut. Poor girl, all she got to do was pet Crazy Lady.


Marilyn said...

I have to tell you, you caught me off guard on this one.
You had me at the kids and the bike ride and the bike trailer and the lack of helmuts and the nice weather, but I was SURE you were going to loose me on the the short top neck long bottom neck conformation high headed horse stuff.
I was SO there in the moment with you though!
It was like I understood what you were talking about and was ready to go size up the donkeys and throw some hot barrel racing tips your way.

You are a GREAT writer.

Marilyn said...

Oh man...lose not loose.
Gah! I hate it when that happens.

Danielle Michelle said...

Working on turns hmmmm? Okay - when I start a barrel horse I learn right away if they turn from teh front or back - there are great horses that do both, but I personally like one that gets back. Anyway - don't just turn her around barrels in a pattern. Start with figure 8's around barrels, but wide - going both directions. Do them at walks, trots, canters, etc...start tightening them up after a bit (so 3 wide, 3 medium, 3 tight...go back to large) Work her around single barrels also going in circles, widening, tightening, going back wide, etc...this will get her bending nicely and comfortable with where her feet should be placed. Then start putting her around the whole pattern in walks, trots, canters, gallops! Start slow though. I work them around barrels (8's and singles ) for months before I even attempts a barrel pattern, and then I only trot them for a few months. Make sure you are sitting nice and deep and have good leg pressure (outside pushing with inside leg moved back and pushing - pretend you are turning the horse with your leg pressure).

This way you won't have a horse super hot all the time, and that pocket around the barrels will get smaller and smaller...

It is I said...

Hey you!

I can't believe how big the kids have gotten in the 8 months that I have been gone, LOL.

I was just stopping by to say hey, and to let you know that I will be catching up on your blog in the upcoming weeks. I missed you!

I have something for you on my blog too. COme check it out when you get a chance.


Melanie said...

No barrel horse tips here!!! LOL!!!
She is a pretty mare, despite her ewed neck. She even looks rather Arab-like when she was acting naughty in the round pen. :)

About your hair...your face shape reminds me a little of mine, and I have always been told to keep it between chin length and should length, with lots of layers.

I say keep it long, but add layers to it! Have you decided what to do??

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Sounds like Lady is a peach! Only a mare a mother could love :-). She's lucky to have you. Sorry, I have no advice on barrel racing.

Stephanie said...

Gesh you had me wincing on your retelling of the buck-off incident, and I have been pitched off in many different ways - never that way though!

Marilyn said...

Farm fiasco.....

Do over.

Anonymous said...

You are quite the Horse Gal! You need to come to Texas and help me become a better rider and assess my mare "Maria."

Linda said...

How I envy your "super cold" 40 degree weather!Right now it's 19 degrees here in upstate NY, and we're in the middle of a blizzard that is supposed to dump 16" of snow today. I haven't worked my horses in months, because most mornings it's below zero, so all you can do is run out to the barn, feed them turn them out, and run back to the house! Love your conformation analysis of your mare. I have a QH mare who is almost a dead ringer for yours, only my girl is 28 going on 29. She's finally mellow to ride, but personality-wise, still the same feisty, bossy mare she's always been.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Andrea-I'll work up a pattern and post it for ya. It works on all sizes and running types of horses.

And has Lady been worked on by a chiro? When I see or hear someone talking about how wonky a horse travels, I think chiro. Especially her neck...going threw/over the round pen could have gotten things out of adjustment.

The Wades said...

Man, they look adorable in that bike trailer! Good for you getting out like that. I bet they loved a ride around.

And you know I have no opinion on turns and collecting and the such. I will say I think your pictures look great. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh! no, no, no. That is totally not Peanut, sweetie. Gosh is she the cutest little baby girl ever?
Smooches for her!

I've never seen a true ewe neck until now. She's got it bad, eh?
It's weird how that and her other confirmation faults really make her look kind of wonky and throw her out of balance.

I don't have any advice, but just wanted to ask you to be very careful riding her because of her past history. I don't think she has soft eyes either. They look a little pig-eyed.
You be careful girl!!


Mikey said...

Love that last pic, lol, she's ready to go!
I too owned a horse born on April Fools Day. His registered name was Bold and Foolish (the PERFECT horse for me in so many ways).
I can also sympathize on the saddle horn incident. I got one of those too, and I had trouble with bathroom activities for a week. Those saddle horns hurt a person badly.
As for the high headedness? Perhaps a chiro visit? We just sent a horse to the trainer and he adjusted her, Wade said he popped her back leg and it popped her whole back (audibly) and you could see her relax. I had no idea!!