Thursday, December 30, 2010

They might be destructive, but they're pretty darn cute...

I should have seen it coming. Sage has been standing by the gate in the barn between the two sets of horses teasing at Gabby. So when I looked out the window yesterday and noticed horses in different pastures, I shouldn't have been shocked to go outside and find the gate mangled on the ground.

Though the destruction doesn't look that bad in the photo, the gate is ruined as the bottom grid part has popped off at the bottom of the bent portion. Amazingly, no one was hurt, but I know it was Sage who did it because she was a little bit sweaty and very guilty looking when I went out there. Well, although I was mad at her, there really isn't anything I could do but rig up some temporary panels and prepare to buy a new gate (which will, interestingly, cost more than Sage cost in the first place).

Since today started out sunny, I let the girls out in the pasture for a while, hoping that later this afternoon I could take Sage for a walk in the sun. Unfortunately, the fog rolled in from the valley faster than I thought possible, so they got a few hours out in the sun and we'll have a foggy walk later. Oh well, at least they had fun!

Edited to add:

Saddled up and ready to go for a walk! Notice the fog--just a few hours after the earlier pictures were taken.

She was a very good girl. As she usually does when we get to the big grass seed field, she squealed a bit and tried to kick up her heels. When she does this, I remind her that it's not okay and then work on other things until she settles down. Sometimes when we're way out on the field and she wants to do something else, she'll take a little nip at me as if trying to pull me in the direction she wants to go. For this, she gets in trouble because that's really not okay. It doesn't take much body language to make her stop, lick her lips, and chew. Overall, she is incredibly well behaved for a horse of her age out on the trail alone. I am just getting nit-picky because she's so good. We usually just saddle up and go! I can't wait until summer (or whenever my schedule and the weather allows) to trailer her somewhere where we won't have to walk partway along the road and we can hit some real trails!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Sage got a new hackamore (a loping hackamore--kind of similar to the rope halter I usually ride in) from her "uncle" Casey (my husband Patrick's brother) for the holidays. She was happy to model it today. She also got a new jelly scrubber, which she really likes. Here are some pictures--Timmy even popped in for a bit!

It's blustery and wet outside, so it looks like we won't be going out on the trail for a while. We may get some snow this week, so hopefully that happens and quiets down this stormy rain. The girls are getting a little bored with it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Second ride!

This time I got on Sage by myself after a little bit of ground work. She was a tiny bit nervous but was great overall. I worked on bending her neck to the left and right, and of course she was curious about me in the saddle. She first walked forward on her own, and it took me a bit but I was able to stop her. "Whoa" is definitely something to work on. She turns quite well, as we've had a chance to work on this on the ground a lot.

I then tried to gently squeeze her forward, and without someone to lead her it took her a minute to figure out what I wanted. But she did! And we did a few rough circles before stopping. I was about to get off when she walked forward again, and I did a one rein stop to keep her from moving again. Definitely like a normal young horse. She also was good enough to do a little backing up.

She has been really great with Laura, who has been brushing her every day and treating her like a normal horse--although you can tell sometimes she gets a bit nervous about things, she handles everything really really well.

What a good pony!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

First ride!!

The story tells itself better in pictures, really. Our friend Laura, who is 11 years old and came to visit from Germany, came and helped out. Patrick was there and my mom took pictures. Sage was pretty much brilliant! She is such a good girl.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sage says hello! We had a good walk up the road seeing as it is finally sunny. They all have a lot of pent up energy, so I would say that considering that she was a very good girl. Now they're just grazing the afternoon away!

Estrone sulfate levels should be back in 5-10 days and I'll know if she's pregnant or not. I hope that she isn't, simply because bringing another horse into the world isn't what I'd like to do right now. But if she is, she is, and then I'll have my next horse a little sooner than I thought! I just want everything to go well for her.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pregnancy Test (stay tuned)

Each time I start one of these blog posts, I talk about how nervous I was to do something and then how well it turned out because Sage is such a star. Well, this time is no different. I pulled blood tonight for an estrone sulfate test for pregnancy (to send off tomorrow--we'll know the results in a week or so). I had my dad hold, because I figured she might squiggle a bit. But she was solid as a rock, didn't even notice the needle. An amazing pony. Can I say enough good things about this horse?!

Just to prove it, here's the result:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trailering, part 2

Ever since I introduced Sage to the trailer again yesterday, it's been hard to keep her out. Granted, I've been making sure there's always something tasty in there, but this morning she got in and refused to get out over some day-old hay. She really is a pig.

Brandy, on the other hand, has been having a mild nervous breakdown over the whole thing. I loaded her just for practice yesterday and this made her really antsy. I tried to leave her in the arena and leave her hay in the trailer, but for hours she just fretted and paced and finally I sent Sage in there to clean up the feed. Brandy was so confused as to why anyone would want to spend any time in the tin can of hell that she's been kind of worried all night. Not worried enough not to eat, of course, but just worried.

This morning while Sage was chowing down on her grain in the trailer I closed the divider on her and opened it back up several times. Being the star that she is, she didn't mind at all. So this afternoon I moved the trailer to a different spot (just to make sure she was paying attention), loaded her up ("step up" is all the cue she needs), closed the door and took her on a 15 minute drive up the road.

When we got back she was a bit nervous and unloaded a bit fast. But I asked her to step back in and unload again and she did it easily. What a good girl!! After a little rest and a roll, I saddled her up and worked on leaning over her back, and of course all the basics in review.

The basics are super important when you are in a small space, such as a trailer, with a mustang. The fact that she is very good at backing up and yielding her hindquarters meant I could maneuver her to the exact spot I needed when I loaded her. You can never go over that stuff too much!

Don't have any pictures from today, but here are some "long lost" photos from back at the corrals in August:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trailering, part 1

Since I'm waiting until I have some help this weekend to start riding her, I decided I'd work on trailering instead. Of course, I picked the moment when the clouds opened up a torrential downpour, so even though I pulled the trailer into the arena, it was loud and dark--perfect nervous horsey weather (generally what I work in now, which is a good thing because if she can do stuff when there are so many distractions, it'll be so much easier on a nice sunny day).

My horses tend to be a little nervous when they see the trailer anyway, which is my fault for not hauling them very much (and for only ever hauling Brandy to the vet). Sage was a bit wary about being caught at first, but mostly because the other horses were jostling around. She calmed down as soon as I had the halter on, as her motto in life seems to be "No big deal."

I figured this all would take a while, so I opened the door to the trailer and let Sage loose in the arena with her halter on. She did a little exploring:

I suppose this is all right...

But I'm not really sure, either.

Sage hasn't been in the trailer since she came home. I let her take her time. I got up in the trailer, and first I just rewarded her for standing there at the door. When she stood calmly there, I walked away ("released") and came back again. She anticipated where this was going and hopped up into the trailer the third time around without really being asked. I told her she was a good girl and taught her how to back out. She didn't like this much, because she was unsure of her footing. Thankfully the arena sand is the best surface to learn on, so I taught her to back out three times. Then, I decided she was being mature enough that she could turn around and come out facing forward, which she liked a lot better.

She was being such a good girl that I decided I'd give her a little bit of grain inside the trailer. I made up a bowl for her and placed it in the back corner, and she was more than eager to go in and eat on her own.

I kept the session short: 15 minutes or so. Tomorrow we'll work again, and we'll work on closing the divider and the door. Then, we'll add driving to that. One step at a time, though!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh yes, and...

Lately I've been a little bit suspicious of something else, too. I know Sage eats a lot of hay each day, so it's no surprise that she has developed quite a belly. However, it's always a possibility that she was bred by a stallion while still out on the range...meaning, at the least she could be 5 months pregnant right now.

Teen pregnancy? Well, she was a big girl for 2 so it wouldn't be so out of the question. I may just be paranoid, but maybe when school starts up again I'll get her tested.

Stay tuned...

So finals are finally over, and even when they were going on I had a few moments to saddle Sage and do some work. No more walks because the weather has been very very wet, but lots of small stuff in the arena.

Since I regularly stand on the wall and torment her--put my legs over her back, tousle her mane, jump up and down, etc--I figured today she was ready to try me actually in the saddle. I've put weight in the stirrups several times, but today I finally hopped up and just stretched out over her saddle.

I didn't actually sit up because no one was out in the barn with me, but I laid out over back several times and she was excellent. No trouble at all. Definitely a good first-almost-ride.

I sat on Brandy and walked around the arena so she could watch again, and I think she's pretty chill with the idea. Just another one of those weird things that people do!

Stay tuned for the first ride (and pictures!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

"The mustang was awesome"

That, my friends, is an exact quote from my farrier! On Wednesday night he came out to put shoes on Brandy and Luna, so I had him trim Sage before we started (thinking that if she was going to kick and throw a tantrum, at least we'd get it over with). We had been working on picking up back feet, but I'd only cleaned them a few times. As well, the last time she was trimmed was kind of a "cut and run" sort of thing. We only did her fronts, and it was a rough job.

How many times do I have to say I shouldn't have worried?? Well, I can say it again. She was the best of the three horses for the night. She was a bit nervous at first, but offered her front feet willingly. He used the post and did a normal time just like he would for any other horse. He moved on to her back feet and it was as if she'd been getting trimmed her entire life. She stood there very willingly with her back foot on the post, even offered her second back foot before he asked for it. He was blown away by how good she was!

Although I don't have any pictures of that, I'll share one of how dirty she got the other night rolling in the mud, getting rained on, and then rolling in the arena sand right after. She thinks she's so cute (and she is):