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Most Pasos tend to give up easily (not all--my Isabeau was very stubborn) so if you keep at it, they give in. When I adopted a rescue Paso from Horse Protection Association of Florida, the trainer said, "You know why so many Pasos are abused?" I said, "No, why?" She said, "Because you can. They just take it and take it and keep on trying, unlike Arabs and Thoroughbreds who get mad and get even." I have found that to be true for most Pasos, but not all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Most Pasos tend to give up easily (not all--my Isabeau was very stubborn) so if you keep at it, they give in. When I adopted a rescue Paso from Horse Protection Association of Florida, the trainer said, "You know why so many Pasos are abused?" I said, "No, why?" She said, "Because you can. They just take it and take it and keep on trying, unlike Arabs and Thoroughbreds who get mad and get even." I have found that to be true for most Pasos, but not all.
I loved reading Isabeau's journal, what a horse! Thank you for the advice, it gives me hope that this mare will give us a try when the time comes.

Magnus has been on a much more strict regime with his grazing muzzle and exercise. He wears it from 9pm to 8 am, grazes for two hours, then comes in for supplement and exercise. Muzzle goes on for the afternoon and comes off at 6pm. We have our first competition together at the beginning of July so its even more motivation to keep his going with his fitness. Husband, his daughter and I took our competition mounts out for a big ride two days ago and I was really impressed with Magnus' increase in fitness. Daughter rode Moon and they seemed to really enjoy each other. She was even able to get Moon into a gallop, although Moon can pace as fast as Magnus lopes! She still has her squirrely moments but nothing this girl can't handle, and these moments really don't amount to much. That's how she's gotten out of things in the past but it just doesn't work here.

His attitude has seen improvement with the stricter routine. At this point it could just be an attitude thing, training or his PSSM. They all have the same symptoms it seems so I'm just trying to manage it all. I've compared to dealing with him like dealing with a five year old horse rather then a 10 year old horse and it still feels that way sometimes. That said, I just love him so much. When he is cooking on the trail, he doesn't spook or take a single misstep. He floats across the ground and navigates any obstacle. He makes me feel like he actually likes me, unlike my mare Bloom. I know she would be quite happy to leave me behind for bear bait! LOL. It's okay, I've accepted that about her. She makes nice babies and trusts us so much with them, I'm very thankful for that part of her.

Magnus should have his shoes on either today or tomorrow and then our team will start racking up miles on the gravel roads. It's not near as much fun as hauling to the trails but it is convenient when we don't have time to haul out. All the cows are in the pastures for summer grazing and while we could still make our winter loop, there are a lot more gates to open and once again it comes down to miles now. It is much easier to hit a good run walk or rack on the roads and make up some good time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
Magnus and I successfully completed our first 25 mile CTR together. It was a great ride in a part of the province I don't get to go very often. The club, members, vets were all fantastic. After years of showing, I just feel like we fit in much better with this crowd. Everyone likes to ride fast and far, get dirty and dusty, then sit around a campfire and tell stories with a beer or whiskey.

Magnus and I took first in our division (yay!) but there were less riders then usual due to the heat and location. Had it been a bigger ride, I don't think we would have placed as well. Magnus pulsed in at 11, respiration 5, when we vetted in Friday night. At our first P and R stop Saturday morning, he pulsed in at 16 and respiration at 17. The pulser told me he was panting. I'd never heard of a horse panting, I'd always thought he was a heavy breather though. I took my card over to the vet and shared the information with him. He checked pulse and respiration again, confirmed the same numbers and continued to check his hydration, capillary refill, gut sounds and quality of movement. Everything else was great except for the panting which had yet to subside (we get ten minutes from when we arrive to the time the pulsers come around). The vet cleared Magnus for the second loop which was half the distance of our first loop.

We decided to take it slow for the final two hours and took a break at the 2 mile marker. We literally walked the whole last loop and arrived at our optimal time despite the slow pace. He pulsed down to 15 and respiration to 12, but those numbers are still really high. We scored really well everywhere else.

I don't think our speed during the first loop was the issue, I used equilab to track and our average was below 5.5mph and we were always riding near the other riders in our division. Like I said too, he's always been a heavy breather. I just never realized he was panting nor did I realize that he has a very hard time bringing his respiration down. Tiberius and Moon pulsed down consistently better then Magnus.

I was chatting with the organizer of the ride and she shared some stories of horses she knew over the years who were "panters" like Magnus. She said that it wasn't such a penalty in endurance riding as it was in CTR, and some of those horses did better with medicine but those drugs aren't legal in CTR. She gave me some tips like taking his bit out, sponging off his neck, belly and between his back legs.

I did some googling on the drive home and am looking at a supplement that Herbs for Horses sells. It's called Breathe and has really good reviews. I don't think any of the ingredients would be an issue with a random drug test, but then again, I'm not 100% sure. I came across another site about one nostril breathing. It seems like it would be too good to be true but I thought what have I got to lose? A lot of the information seemed more relevant to Magnus then COPD or RAO.

I tried one session on him today. He was either trying to get my hand off his nose or he was putting his head down and releasing like crazy with big yawns and his tongue sticking out.

On another note, Moon and her young jockey got first in their division! Moon is a machine who loves distance riding. Seriously I have never seen a horse as happy as she looks when she is trucking down the trail. Gone are her neurotic behaviours and weird little quirks. She isn't spooky and she's happy to lead, being ridden by a junior rider! I'm so proud of them.

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
Congratulations on your successful CTR's!! Very exciting!! Your pictures are super. I am eager to read about the gray Paso Fino mare and the colt. How are they coming along?
Thank you!

They are just hanging out for now. Husband has been feeding Havana hay by hand from over the fence before throwing the rest over for her. Sometimes I can touch her nose lightly without her flinging her head away when using food as a bribe. I've been calling the colt Cabana. One day he was sleeping with his head under the fence, exactly where I was able to walk up quietly. He was so fast asleep that I was able to start scratching him between the ears and down his face. I swear he was enjoying it! He stretched out and took a deep breath. I was so excited though that when I saw husband I yelled out "I'm petting him! I'm petting him!" Of course this woke him up and he scurried off pretty quick.

On September 1st he will be four months old and we will wean him from his mother. Our corrals are set up so that it should be pretty easy to just close a gate between them without much fuss (that's the plan anyways). Then I will put Bloom in with Cabana for a few days, where they will also share a fence line with the big herd.

From there it should be pretty easy to back the trailer up to Havana's corral and herd her in. I'll drive her down to the round pen, back up to it and unload her there to start her training. So until then there probably won't be much to update about them. Havana keeps her distance from any of us when we are in her pen which takes Cabana away. I don't want to chase her and instill that reaction in him anymore then it already is.

It has been a challenge to keep weight on Havana, her topline is completely gone but she has a big pot belly. I mixed dewormer in some grain for her since there's no way to give it to her orally. That seemed to help some but her hips still stick out more then I like. She eats hay and grass all day long and is supplemented with a mare and foal mix. I'll have to get some updated pictures of her but I do have a couple of her colt.

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
Just finished a 12 day pack trip into the backcountry with three humans and seven horses. On the first day we took Mountain Trail to a trapper's cabin. We rode for about 4.5 hours at a good run walk to get there. It was a good camp for people, lots of room for our tents and shelter for our equipment, but the grazing was terrible. It was boggy and a few horses fell down with their hobbles on. The horses were tied up for the night and we moved out early in the morning. It was a big push to our next camp at Blue Grouse. Its always a gamble if the camp you are headed for is full or not, but luckily most people tend to stay closer to the staging area. We had pushed past the busy camps on the first day and when we rolled into Blue Grouse it was empty. The horses got the next day off to graze to their hearts content.

After our rest day it was time for our first day ride. This ended up being a long day, 7 hours in the saddle. We covered about 35km but a lot of the terrain made it hard to kick up into high gear. We played tourist and visited Brewster's Wall, with the most gorgeous lake sitting below it. Then the three of us cruised down Glacier Pass as far as we dared, making it to the Jasper border before taking a break and turning back to camp.

The guys wanted to make it to Azure Lake the next day, but we ended up going down Hard Scrabble trail instead. It was so scenic and turned out to be a great ride. We were going to pack out the next day and head up the Jack Knife Pass but one of my husband's horse seemed to have a sore shoulder. The group made the decision to do another day ride and give Tiberius a day off in camp. The three of us went up Blue Grouse Pass the next day. It was a steep climb to get up to what you would imagine Heaven to look like. Flowers of all colours, blankets of green rolling down mountainsides surrounding you, rock, trees, it's so hard to describe. Heaven pretty soon descends into Hell though, as the trail winds through thick pine trees. The trail is so narrow that it tears at your toes, saddle bags, scabbards, face, legs...yeah that was soon cancelled due to lack of interest.

The pull up Jack Knife Pass is steep and switchbacks. We stopped at the base and triple checked our knots before going up, with the narrow trail it's hard to find a place to do any retying. The ride up went as well as it could, our packs stayed in place and the horses were tough as nails. We took lots of breaks, finding as even ground as we could to stop and blow the horses.

Once at the top of the pass it was an easy ride to our next camp at Snow Creek. Along the way I spotted a grizzly walking on a mountainside above the tree line. His legs looked like they were four feet long! He took off running as soon as he heard our bells. Husband figures we were about a mile away from him.

We did another day ride after that through Rocky Pass and to Eric Lake. Rocky Pass was one of the coolest places we rode through. The boulders were as big as houses. This was another big day, about six hours in the saddle with a steep drop off the Snow Creek trail, which turns into a big pull back to the top to get to camp.

The next day was another easy day. The three of us cruised around visiting one of the Snow Creek Cabin and checking out the turn we had to take the next day with the pack horses. Our next camp took us back into what our friend called a "high traffic area" so we all showered that day too. He has a nifty shower bag that the guys hung up behind a tarp.

Our next camp was back at Eagle's Nest, which is only a couple hours from the staging area. We did another day ride after that which turned into a 7 hour day. We though it should have only been a five hour ride but after we got back, husband got looking at the map and saw he miss counted the kilometers. We did about 48 kilometers that day. It was so fun though and our horses were in great shape. The way back was on Indian trail which is pretty easy to crank up into a fast gait.

It's crazy how fast twelve days goes by. We got one more day ride in from our trailers before heading home. Magnus was amazing, he was one of our pack horses and I alternated riding him and Moon. Some days they had to work a few in a row because of the packing, but otherwise the workload was shared as much as possible. Hanging out around camp, most people can't believe the miles we cover, but then they don't understand how fast the gaited horses can move and how easy it is on us!


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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
I just got back from a CTR in central Alberta with the family and a friend of ours. The weather was great, about 20C during our ride. The camping facilities were pricey but well worth it. Our horses had nice pens, water was right beside us and we had a firepit between our two trailers. I was not able to take Magnus this time unfortunately, he has completely chewed up his back ankles with his hooves. Apparently this is called "interference". Husband changed his angles just ever so much on his back feet (and pulled the shoes) to see if that would give him enough clearance to stop the clipping. I am not able to ride with any kind of hoof boot or ankle boot in a competitive trail event. A few days after his new trim, I hopped on and husband filmed us from behind and it did look like his hooves were clearing his ankles. Prior to the trim, when he came in from pasture it looked like he was opening the scabs up over and over. After the trim, they didn't have that look, so I'm hopeful this quick and easy solution will work in the long run.

There is one more CTR this year in September and we are playing around with maybe going. It is a long drive for us, about seven hours one way, but we will get to ride through a provincial park that normally does not allow horseback riding. I guess we'll see, as the client horses come back September 1st and holidays are officially over.

Back to our ride, I stole one of husband's mountain horses, Destiny, and rode her. She gave me a great ride and she has a great little gait to her. I'm pretty sure we would have placed top three, except right after our second vet check she started stumbling and trotting as we were cruising down a dirt road. One of these stumbles she did not recover from. I just remember watching her head go lower and lower, thinking she has to be kissing the road at this point, come on Destiny pick yourself up. She didn't though, her front legs crumpled and she went skidding down on her side. I was able to sort of tuck and roll so most of my leg cleared her before she could lay down completely on it. I still had one rein in my hand and we both popped back up. I walked her a little bit and she seemed fine so I got back on and we finished our ride. Closer inspection back at camp revealed she did have some road burn on one elbow, one knee and above her eye. Good bye precious points! We ended up in fourth place, which is still pretty good!

We all competed in novice, but after missing a really well marked turn (the horses were cruising and we were chatting away, completely forgot why any of us were there in the first place) and adding four miles to our ride, all of us thought we needed to make up time. Well the two mile marker came up really fast and I couldn't believe our ride was almost over! I was chatting with a couple ladies who have been competing for a long time at the 2 mile mark and they said we should go intermediate if we liked the speed, since that's basically what we rode at the whole time. That was kind of cool, since we really didn't know when we would be ready to try intermediate or if we would like it. I love that we kind of fell into the pace with our friend and that everyone enjoyed it. This was our third race as novice and maybe, just maybe, we will try intermediate next year (or September? who knows).

Husband's daughter was with us and she rode a little sabino rocky cross gelding of mine. It was his first event and everyone just thought he was the cutest thing.

I did get a couple pictures from this weekend:

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Husband and I just got back from a five day trip to Kananaskis country where we met up with our friend from our pack trip and his wife. It was the first time for all of us there and we really enjoyed it. Talk about a nice equestrian setup! Our horses got to stay in a covered barn with roomy tie stalls. There was fencing around the barn that I thought was really handy incase a horse pulled an escape move, but later I realized it also served to keep the wildies from getting at our horses as well. There is a beautiful meadow behind the barn where we were told the wildies like to come and graze. On our last morning there, husband walked down to feed the horses and was lucky enough to see them first hand.

Magnus is getting some much deserved time off, I've been concentrating more on a few arena rides a week working on gait, neck reining and moving off the leg. I want to be able to pony off of him next year. Anyways, so Magnus stayed home for this trip and I took a buckskin single footing gelding and husband took one of our up and comers, a beautiful buckskin tobiano walker. His horse Tiberius came up a little lame on our last competitive trail ride so he is also on some time off.

Our first day was pretty relaxed, just a four ride that was about 20 kilometers. We rode to an equestrian campground tucked in beside Mt. Romulus. It seemed strange that people would pack in so close to such a nice campground, and it was only part of a 38 km loop which is a great day ride in my opinion. Anyways, it was so nice! There were multiple sites, tent poles, fire wood, a sea-can full of cubes (there is absolutely no grazing to speak of back there, plus tons of park rules and permits required). I guess I'm comparing the sites to the ones in the Willmore which are like stepping back in time. If there is a picnic table in the back county, it was made by someone stuck at camp! These sites by Mt. Romulus had beautiful, new picnic tables. We didn't see any wildlife except for giant stud piles and lots of hikers and pedal bikers.

On the second day, we had picked out a loop that was only about 24 kilometers. What we didn't know was how much up and down we would be doing. Where husband and I live, our biggest hill is a ditch. Our horses get good cardio workouts, but they barely know what a hill is. Freddie and Stormie had their worlds rocked that day, but man were they ever troopers. No quit, tons of stamina and heart. The best part of the ride was climbing up to Powderface Ridge, and holy was I ever glad we went up that way. I'd hate to come back down on all that shale and loose rocks if we'd taken the loop the other way. It was super steep on the way up and the rocks were just awful. I'd been told I could see the Calgary Tower from up there but no luck. From Powderface Ridge we were to continue along to a T junction and then hang a left down the mountain to catch our next trail, Ford Creek Trail. Well, my lovely companions cannot read maps without their glasses, and they led us to the right instead. As we were going down, I saw a marker in a tree that said Powderface Creek. I called out to husband who was closest to me and told him so. He said he was aware. Okay then.

Long story short we added half a kilometer going down an awful rocky road, to turn around and go back up another 500 meters to the junction. At this point our friend said that he could make out "Powderface" and assumed that was good enough. LOL. It was good fun.

So we finally make it to what we think is the next trail head. There is no markings, and our location on the map is covered by a window where the map designers decided to put a blown up look at the main campground trails. No good. As far as our GPS was concerned, there are zero trails in this area. As a group we decide to keep pushing, but all of us were well aware that our geldings were running out of steam. Finally we came up on a sign that confirmed we were on Ford Creek Trail. Now we were committed, with only 6 km's to camp.

This was the trail that just kept on giving. Up and up we climbed, down we went. Then up and up we went again, then down a little bit, then up and up and up again. I was sure missing Magnus at that point, but Freddie never gave up on me. This was his first big trip and I'm sure he thought life was over as he knew it.

We were really close to camp when the geldings heard a horse whinny from the barn. Their heads perked right up and they called back. Husband and I almost fell off laughing at their expressions. Those were the two happiest geldings I have seen in a long time. Suddenly their feet weren't so heavy and their steps grew lighter. All in all, 24 km's took us six hours, which is a long time! With so much climbing we stop and blow the horses constantly, one more thing eating up the hours.

The next day was another easy day all along the flats across the Big Elbow river. It was very scenic and there were lots of great places to kick up into a fast gait. Again no wildlife, but lots of hikers and pedal bikers.

I want to go back next fall, it was really quiet this time of year, and bring our high milers. There are a couple good loops that would be fun to crack Magnus and Tiberius open on!

I also wanted to update on a few of our sales horses. Moon has found her new home, as has Mercury, the single footing gelding that husband's daughter rode at the last competitive trail ride. I was able to get Destiny gait certified with the International Heritage Walking Horse Association and cut a deal with her breeder. Destiny will be going back where she came from to make the next generation of Heritage horses, and in return I will be getting an awesome mare that I put time on this spring (who has also been exposed to a very nice stud).

Jedi (formerly known as Cabana), the little paso fino colt was weaned after we returned from the Willmore. He still doesn't really like us, but he will stand still and let me halter him, pick up his feet, and is learning to lead. His dam was extremely dangerous, even after weaning and having some time to settle down. She tried to double barrel husband one day when he was working with her. He was lucky and the kick that was aimed at his head, hit his chest instead as he jumped back. His shirt was torn off and she cut his skin. Luckily no bones were broken.

We had to make a decision to move her on. She was way out of my league and I can't have my partner in danger either. We have so many of our own horses that need us, and with our client horses back, it just seemed like maybe her future wasn't here with us. I know this may be a controversial decision, but we decided to humanely euthanize her. It was a very hard decision and I spoke to several of my peers bouncing ideas around. I knew I would not put her into the slaughter pipeline. My dad's friend was willing to take her as a companion for his retired penning horse, but he is an older guy and what if he got too close to her and she hurt him? I couldn't live with that. She was so unpredictable, she could be nice one second, and then spin and try to take your head off in the next. Step too close to her, and she would let fly with those back feet.

I really struggled with what to say on here about Havana, I know some people were eager to hear about her progress and this is not the update they would be looking forward too. Ultimately I was not willing to pass her on to someone else, and bear the burden if that person got hurt because of her. I was not willing to send her to auction to go for meat. I hope everyone reading this will understand our decision. It was not made lightly.

Anyways, if you're still with me, here are some pictures.

Horse Helmet Horse tack Halter Working animal
Horse Eye Stable Working animal Horse tack
Horse Cloud Sky Working animal Halter
Horse Cloud Sky Mountain Plant
Cloud Sky Plant Plant community Mountain
Plant Cloud Horse Mountain Sky
Sky Plant Cloud Plant community Mountain
Horse Helmet Bit Working animal English riding
 

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The sky in some of those pictures does not even look real! What a great ride. I truly enjoyed your description. And I agree about that mare. I wish more owners were that responsible and did not just dump the horse trying to recoup some of what they paid for it.
 
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