My 2 Mares were stars on Trail today! - Page 98 - The Horse Forum
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post #971 of 2659 Old 07-18-2017, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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Sounds like in no time at all, we'll have an HF endurance team out there on the trails.
I can see the t-shirts now!

Seriously though, I would love the chance to meet up and ride with so many of you in real life! It's really fun to hear about everyone's experience dabbling in various LD and endurance rides. So cool that there are so many options out there and so many avenues for trying it out. I do think the 10, 15, 25 mile "intro" type rides sound very doable with some reasonable conditioning.

Thanks for all the well-wishes for Izzy. We'll figure it out. I added an eye exam to the vet visit on August 2nd. As I was thinking back to when the balking got really bad, I realized it may coincide with when I started riding in the Quiet Ride mask vs. just an ear bonnet. And then I saw on that other "refusing to go forward" thread that a couple of people wondered about a change in vision. Izzy has always had sensitive eyes, and they have had some cloudiness build up over the past year, so we'll take a look at that too. I took the mask off the last time I rode to see if that made a difference- it didn't, but maybe it did initially and then reinforced the behavior- at this point, I'm not sure yet what is a "root cause" vs. habit.
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post #972 of 2659 Old 07-19-2017, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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Izzy saw the farrier this morning, he was in and out uneventfully. It's been so awfully wet for the past few weeks she has some yucky thrushy spots on her front feet, which seemed to come from out of nowhere between when I saw her Sunday and today. I don't know how people in constantly wet climates do it! We're really not used to this much wet this late in the summer, and it's getting difficult to find a way to get her to a dry place since she's out 24/7 and never comes into a stall.


I just found some old pictures of us- looking at the timestamp on them, I realized I started riding her in lessons back in summer/fall of 2010. I bought her in 2012, and had free leased her for about a year before that, but I guess I forgot that I was also taking lessons with her for that much time before the lease started. These pictures are all from 2010-2011, so she was 16-17 years old.

Look at us, we're kids here - and both a bit skinnier

Pretty background, but the way she's standing makes her back look loooonnngg here

At this point, there was a fancy dressage trainer at our old boarding barn, and she was definitely trying to turn Izzy into a dressage horse.

I actually really like the pretty walk she has here:

This is probably the last time she had a clip- six years ago since she's been civilized (although eww, did anyone ever clean that paddock?!).

It's fun finding these, I love going back in time.
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post #973 of 2659 Old 07-21-2017, 03:15 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Midwest
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So excited for you that you had a great experience with @phantomhorse13 and crew.

I'm so jealous! Endurance looks like so much fun! She always posts the best pictures!

Sorry about your troubles with Izzy but strolling down memory lane via old pictures is always a great reminder of how far you've come together.

Maybe the farrier can help? Ana is going better now that we pulled her shoes and I'm also making her be forward off of light aids right from the start. As you stated, requesting obedience/more forward right from the start does help.
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post #974 of 2659 Old 07-22-2017, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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Very happy to say that we had an extremely positive ride this morning- the best we've had in forever!

Originally Posted by frlsgirl View Post
...I'm also making her be forward off of light aids right from the start. As you stated, requesting obedience/more forward right from the start does help.
I think this is making a world of difference- it's all about a nice marching walk right from the start. It's really important to me that I don't have to hold her up and balance her though, I want her to be able to take care of that. So we did a long warmup, a forward walk but on the buckle. She did a really good job of maintaining a consistent pace, something she will often resist. Whenever I felt her want to fall into that turtle crawl, she just needed a little leg and she marched on.

(Sigh...her poor mane is a scraggly mess...and not improving)

The best part, after 10-15 minutes in the outdoor, we headed out towards the trail- and she went where her nose was pointed with no fuss. None of that awful balking stuff at all, and I was not all up in her mouth to get her there. We went the whole way to the woods uneventfully, on the same loose rein, and did a 10-15 minute loop before the dive bombing deer flies were just too much.

Then we came back up at a nice, balanced trot. BO has slowly been clearing out a gallop track around the perimeter of the property to use with her eventing horses, so we're starting to have some nice ground for long trots. We did a bit of that, and Izzy really felt like she was carrying herself rather than leaning on me- felt so good!

I resisted the urge to point her back to the woods one more time- she had been so quiet the first time, it was tempting, but I figured we'll go again tomorrow rather than risk not ending on a good note.

I always want to figure out *why* things go right when they haven't been for awhile. She had her feet trimmed on Wednesday, and I'm happy with how her feet look right now, so that may be helping. I also think I rode with a lot more confidence and a lot less anticipation today. I put some music on my phone and had it in my pocket, and I know that keeps me breathing. I also stopped tensing up every time we got to a place that could be a potential "argument," and instead just made sure I had leg on clearly and was looking well into the distance towards where we were going, rather than down at her (a terrible habit I have).

Another thing I noticed was the the whole time we were riding, her ears were up and happy, not annoyed or pinned like they have been recently. It's good to see her a little more interested again. I'm hoping to continue that positive feeling when we ride with my buddy Ida tomorrow.

Extra carrots because I was so good??

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post #975 of 2659 Old 07-23-2017, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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Well, I'm happy (and frankly, a little relieved) to report that we've managed to string together two good rides in a row!

I warmed up today just like I did yesterday- nice forward walk on a loose rein, trotted both directions in the ring, and then headed out to the trail. There was minimal fuss on our way to the trailhead, even though we had to ride through a flock of turkeys to herd them out of the way.

The bugs descended on us instantly, and swarmed her head and neck for the first 3/4 miles or so. She was definitely not happy, and fidgeted at the walk, but I can understand this!

When we got to the 'water crossing,' she went back to her old balking. We were riding alone, so I didn't have the benefit of Jazzy and Ida to lead for us, but I really was determined to make it across. The water was not deep, rushing, or dangerous in any way. I know there have been a lot of other debates on HF recently about getting off to go through scary scenarios, but I truly believe this is not a frightening situation for Izzy- just one that makes her stubbornly refuse. So, I decided I was staying on and we were going across together. The first few (ok, four) times I tried to get across, she pulled all the tricks she's used before to turn around and go home. She rushed backwards, she lurched sideways through the underbrush. I truly didn't care about her crossing right at the point where I said she should- in my opinion, that was the best footing to go across, but I would have been perfectly happy if she had gone across even if we were off the trail and in the bushes, but she wouldn't do that either. Rather than run into a tree, I did have to turn her in a half circle a couple of times and get back on the trail facing towards home (it's pretty narrow). But each of the times I had to do that, I was able to basically turn on the forehand to get facing back towards the puddle. We did a lot of standing and waiting in between each try, and let's say that was not very fun given the deer flies. As I gathered my reins to urge her forward for the fifth time, that little voice in my head chimed in "she's not going to rear and she's not going to fall"- my two biggest unspoken fears when she starts throwing herself side to side or flying backwards. Not sure if it was coincidence or if I gave myself the confidence to just ride her forward more effectively that try, but finally her nose was crossing the puddle, her front feet were in, and we were through. If it hadn't taken so many tries, I would have said it's the nicest she's ever gone through that water, because she didn't half lunge/half jump through it, she just walked across.

The rest of our ride was great actually. For the remaining mile or so, we trotted and cantered, and she felt strong and eager. We haven't done anything but walk on that trail for months, so it was fun to move out a little- nice hills back there too, so a good work out.

When I hosed her off after the ride though, I felt pretty awful- I discovered she's got girth rubs on both sides in a weird spot- not quite armpit, but not quite leg. I'm not sure how she's getting rubbed there, but unfortunately I don't think it was from just today. Thankfully the skin isn't broken or bleeding, but it's still clearly rubbed. I have a couple of other girths I can try, but does anyone have any suggestions for protecting this weird area, or how to check before I get on to see if a new girth is likely to bother her in the same spot?
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post #976 of 2659 Old 07-23-2017, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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Originally Posted by egrogan View Post
...but I truly believe this is not a frightening situation for Izzy- just one that makes her stubbornly refuse. So, I decided I was staying on and we were going across together....
That is one of the toughest things for me to figure out. Is Bandit AFRAID? Or is he just not in the mood?

And if he isn't in the mood...what next? Sometimes I prefer to let him tell me he is not having fun, and trying something else instead. But there are times I want him to press ahead even if he DOESN'T feel like it - because I want it, and SOMETIMES we need to do what I want. Not just what he wants all the time!

I wish I knew the answer, but I figure it is something we have to figure out each of us on our own, knowing we sometimes will screw up.

Sounds like you ARE making progress. If the rides are on an upward trend, you are guessing better and better and responding in an appropriate fashion. If they are getting worse, adjust.

I remember people telling me to sing when I was nervous. What happened horse decided my singing was a cue to get nervous! "Bob's singing? That means he is scared! Now I need to find the scary thing and save us!"

I finally started singing when I wasn't nervous, just to mix it up. And since I'm not good at remembering horses hear a lot of "Duh, duh, duh...something or, ooo". It is a good thing they are patient!

I would like to find a way to equip my saddle with a sound system, though! A western saddle is heavy enough anyways that attaching some Bose speakers and an amp shouldn't be too much problem.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #977 of 2659 Old 07-24-2017, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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I know what you mean @bsms - I feel like I've been lurching back and forth between explanations for our bad rides the past couple of months- some days, I convince myself she's just old and sore, so she gets to pick where we go and the pace to get there. And then other days, I think no, she's just "got my number" and I just need to tell her I get to have an opinion about where we go, and then we can decide together how fast to go and when to head home. And still other days, I think I should just retire her completely and let her stand around and eat grass all day. My biggest struggle is that I completely agree with you about wanting to ride a horse that wants to go out with me. What fun is it to have to kick and pull them along?

I'm really not usually an indecisive person, and I'm sure it's not helping for me to be so inconsistent with her. I just feel out of my element and what's best for her. I do think it will be good to have the vet visit next week- checking eyes, Lyme, and overall soundness should at least help with some answers to the "is she hurting" question.

As an aside, one of the other women I've ridden with a little has been having almost the same exact problems getting to the trailhead that I've been having. She has the big paint gelding Jimmy I've posted pictures of a couple of times- when you look in the dictionary for the definition of "trusty trail horse," Jimmy is it. I ran into her as she was leaving yesterday, and she said Jimmy absolutely refused to go to the woods two days ago- to the point that he started bucking, which I just can't even picture, he's so steady and solid. She said while he was bucking, all the other horses that are in turnout back by the woods were running frantically around their paddocks. BO thinks the wildlife has been particularly active this year- we know there are bears and coyotes and foxes back there, and tons of deer and the turkeys with lots of babies- but she said a few years ago, there was a big cat out there for awhile and is wondering if that's passing through again. I don't think Izzy is bothered by most wildlife, but admittedly we've never had a close predator encounter. I'm certainly not happy that someone else is having problems riding where they want, but it is at least a little reassuring that someone else with a steady eddie is having a similar problem.

As far as riding with a sound system- not sure what kind of cell phone you have or how your internet access is, but I can stream music while I'm riding so I just stick my phone in my pocket. And don't get me started on how bad my singing is- it's either Christmas carols or old sorority songs, and Izzy doesn't seem particularly impressed with either.

Last edited by egrogan; 07-24-2017 at 07:54 AM.
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post #978 of 2659 Old 07-24-2017, 09:29 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2015
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So glad you had 2 great rides. And Big Cats and Bears are not in my vocabulary! No such things where I live so I cannot even imagine.

My mare Tillie gets girth rubs periodically - since she is black there are times I may not even notice until it gets flaky and peely and then I feel horrible. Hers are in almost the same place as Izzy's - almost at the point of the elbow - and I find that it is mostly when we have been riding strenuous hills or dips and the saddle moves a little more (not loos just moves when her body moves more) I haven't found a girth that has stopped this (mohair, neoprene, felt - Tillie has 1 of each) I know you ride English but it could be that she was using her body more when balking at trail obstacles and it caused some rubbing.

Just want to add - I love your journal and your thoughts and emotions on analyzing Izzy's moods and behavious is thought provoking. I also tend to try to "think of the why" - unfortunately for me I think I may overthink a tad.
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post #979 of 2659 Old 07-24-2017, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks @carshon - it's great to have you along for the ride. I really appreciate you sharing your stories too! I am (clearly) an overthinker as well, so it's good to get so many different perspectives here.

Just let myself spend some time looking at horses on FB, and came across this young mare: listing | MorganShowcase The pictures and videos are all at kind of a weird angle, but curious what people think about her as a "happy hacker and maybe limited distance and maybe training level dressage" prospect? I like the look of her back, and I don't think she's quite as downhill as the last mare I fell in love with on Facebook. I like that she seems to move forward (if a little rushy?), but she looks a little lost about how to find her balance through her neck/head ridden on a fairly long rein in the videos. But, I like that she doesn't have that very exaggerated high legged action at the trot that lot of Morgans in my area seem to have. I do not have the eye yet to be able to clearly see shoulder and pastern angles and how that would influence movement and soundness. What do others see?

She's actually only about half an hour away, and I know of her seller through the local horse networks (and my BO would have an opinion I'm sure). It would be pretty easy to go ride her, though again, I'm hesitant to be a "tire kicker" and I'm not quite ready to say I'm a serious buyer. They don't list a price in her ad (frustrating), so around here that often means either its 5 figures or they're having trouble moving her along.
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post #980 of 2659 Old 07-24-2017, 12:38 PM
Green Broke
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@egrogan you may also think of looking at the Facebook group MorganSafenet

I really like this group and they have had some exceptional rescues come through
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