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Discussion Starter #61
I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Mine has stage 4 CTCL and every time I see her she is getting weaker. Cost has been an issue because of changes in insurance and her age. There is still quite a bit of fight left and that seems to be what is keeping her going. Horses are my sanity. Have been for a long time. There is just something about being around them that makes the world right again.

The thing was, last year, she'd come down with a serious (is there any other kind?) episode of MRSA-pneumonia, which they felt - if not immediately fatal, she was too weakened to recover fully. So she was on hospice from about April/May last year to March of this year and they took her off because she, well, wasn't dead. Then June rolled around and mom had been questioning the wisdom of going back on chemo because she was miserable and in pain anyway, and then her oncologist said 'well, you're right, it's not going to do anything' and gave her 'two weeks to two months'. She was weakened but still talking and cognizant up til the 10th, and then I left overnight for some friends and when I came back she'd taken a sharp decline to sort of delirious, and then to semi-comatose, and then, well, dead. It's funny, it's still not quite settling in as a real thing, even though (with the wait for hospice, and the wait for the funeral people) we sat with her body for a good three hours. It's not as if I don't know she's dead, but some things are just reflex.



So I went to the quarter horse show. It was just the tail end of it, but I went out early on Sunday to see the trail classes and the pole bending and barrel racing. Absolute torrential downpours on the way out - the trail classes were in the indoor arena, so they were all ok, but the pole bending/barrel racing was in an outdoor ring. Fortunately by the time they started, the rain had stopped and it was muddy but passable (that crushed-slate footing). The trail classes were interesting to watch, but some of the horses had their heads way down and looked uncomfortable when they moved (I know it's meant to be slow and casual, but some of them if you didn't know they looked like they were limping). But some of them were lovely to watch all the same. Lots of beautiful horses - a lot of chestnuts, some palomino, some bay, a few white horses, a few red roans. Do quarter horses not typically have pinto patterned coats? I didn't see any at all. (Toby is rumored to be quarter horse, though god only knows his heritage, and he's - I guess it's a tobiano pattern. Funny, Toby, tobiano.) Some of them seemed to have almost arab-looking faces.



I liked the pole bending better less because of the excitement factor and more because there were more novices/kids who were clearly boldly trying something new and different, so it was a lot of fun to watch. One girl was riding a mare that I might delicately describe as "spicy" (she reminded me of Baby, at the barn, who walks like she's shopping Fifth Avenue and has very strongly defined personal space re: other horses). Beautiful horse, but a lot of horse, I was impressed with her control.



Biding time til Friday, once again.
 

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The Paint horse became a "breed" because Quarter Horses with too much white were not allowed to register. They are the foundation for the Paint horse and many Paint lines are full or mostly Quarter.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Oh! Very interesting. Do you know why "too much" white wasn't allowed? Just an aesthetic thing? Signal of poor breeding or inbreeding?
 

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While "chrome" was acceptable (white legs, white mark on the face) high whites, white on the body and bald faces were not looked on with favor and were not considered part of the accepted breed standard. This from the AQHA website:


"From Quarter Horse Coat Colors and America's Horse Is a foal born to two American Quarter Horses that has big white spots on its body an American Quarter Horse? Traditionally, the answer was no, but in 2004, AQHA’s “excessive white” rule was rescinded, allowing horses with these markings to be registered. Any horse with excessive white – see Rule 205(d) in the AQHA Handbook – will have a notation on its registration certificate saying “This horse has white markings designated under AQHA rules as an undesirable trait and uncharacteristic of the breed.”
The only pinto pattern known to exist in American Quarter Horses is the overo (oh VEHR-oh) pattern. This includes subpatterns splash and sabino. The other pinto patterns, tobiano and tovero (a mix of tobiano and overo) have yet to be discovered in the Quarter Horse breed.
Overo most commonly describes frame, which is a coloration that looks like a frame of color surrounding a patch of white. Horses with this pattern usually have white on the face and at least one dark leg. The white on the horse’s body rarely crosses over the horse’s spine, and the spots are usually fairly jagged. Splash white horses look as if they were picked up and dipped in white paint. The white begins at the bottom (legs and lips) and moves upward. The markings can vary from normal markings (sometimes as little as just a snip) to much more extensive markings. Markings are usually crisp with smooth edges, and blue eyes are very common.
A master of disguise, sabino (sah-BEE-no) produces an extremely variable amount of white spotting from normal socks to wildly colored pintos. Its most common characteristics include markings on the face from snip to bald face, almost always accompanied by a white spot on the lower lip or chin; leg white; and roan hairs interspersed in the coat. The roaning is not necessarily evenly spread over the horse’s body. Sabino differs from true roan by the amount of white – true roans are dark only on their head and legs. It is also different from a rabicano, as the latter always affects the tailhead, producing the “skunk tail” effect that we talked about in “Skunk Tailed.” Patches of white on the leg (especially the knee) unconnected to white markings is another sabino trait.
In its most minimal form, sabino presents itself as a set of normal-height white socks and white on the face – markings so minimal one would never think the horse could produce pinto when crossed with the right mate.
Color Facts

  • Early directors of AQHA and old-time horsemen thought paint markings were a sign of mongrel breeding, thus prompting them to exclude such horses from the registry.

  • A foal from two American Quarter Horses that shows undesirable white must be parentage-verified through DNA typing.

  • Breeding two overo horses can cause a recessive trait called Lethal White Syndrome. This is an all-white foal that is born with intestinal tract abnormalities and dies shortly thereafter. If a breeder crosses two frame overo horses that are heterozygous carriers, there is a 25 percent chance of producing a lethal white foal (homozygous carrier). If an overo carrier is bred to an unaffected horse, there is no possibility of producing a lethal white. The University of California-Davis has a test available to determine if a horse is a carrier."
 

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Discussion Starter #65
Interesting! That makes sense, wrt to breeding - you wouldn't want to risk a dead foal or other birth defects if they're associated with the recessive white pattern.



Speaking of my many-colored buddy (well, black, bay, brown, white, dirt - is dirt a color? It should be, on horses.), I had a new (sort of?) experience yesterday. Due to the - erratic weather we've had (read: a pattern of hot, humid, bright days with major thunderstorms and tropical downpours starting mid-afternoon or so) a bunch of rides had to be rebooked, so my trainer asked if I wanted to come on a trail ride in lieu of a lesson, and I said sure, why not, it's time on the horse. (usually, if I trail ride, I am only charged the trail ride fee instead of the lesson fee, so I'm not getting stiffed or anything). She had me be the drag rider for a family group - young daughter, mom and dad, and granddad - where the daughter (because she was fairly young and the family didn't speak much English) was ponied to Nugget, and we just had a nice walk. I got the impression that at least granddad had been around horses before. But I got everybody ready and swapped out Toby's saddled and fetched and tacked Nugget and just came along behind making sure no one got lost or into trouble. It was fun. My trainer didn't charge me, she said, because I worked and helped. And honestly, while it wasn't a challenging ride, I felt really comfortable on Toby - he responded well to my legs, didn't eat, held up or backed when I needed him to - and I was pleased to have responsibility, albeit maybe something of a pretense of responsibility. I wouldn't mind doing it again.



The less positive situation is a confluence of ongoing and new factors.



There was another ride going out, led by the teenagers, and my trainer had to leave and they hadn't decided if they wanted to use Toby yet. I told my trainer I'd stick around and if they didn't use him, I'd untack him and take care of him and just take custody of her saddle for the week, which she agreed to. She left and the teenagers decided not to use Tobes, so I got him untacked and was going to brush him down, poor sweaty old man, and put him out with his buddies where he usually goes. Pretty much my same plan as every Friday, untack, brush, paint his hooves, let them dry and then put him back in the pasture to roll (his 2nd favorite activity, after eating). But I was in the middle of this, and one of the teenagers, D., took him off the cross-ties and took him outside and hosed him down saying he needed a bath. I took him back with some annoyance and squeegeed him off going to go back to the routine. D. took him back again and said she needed him for "something" and put him in the ring (grass arena) with her horse, Indy. I probably should have said no and turned him out, and I acknowledge that. That was my mistake. It felt off to me, that she wanted him for "something" but was about to go on a trail ride...



So, the thing is: her horse has recently begun boarding again and since he returned a few weeks ago, Indy has been *relentlessly* bullying everybody in the main herd, even down to Shasta, who is the sweetest little paint mare (she also boards) who slipped into the herd with basically no conflict from anybody, that's how well she gets on - but Indy's been leaving marks on everyone, every time I groom Toby I find a new one bite or scrape, not severe but worse than his usual what-I-call "butthead bites", which are the usual "someone is being a butthead and the conflict has been resolved in a quick scuffle, let's go back to eating and farting and rolling" marks. Like I said, the whole interaction felt off, so I texted my trainer and said look, this happened, and it feels off, I'm sure D. wouldn't do anything seriously dangerous but could you mind checking on Toby if you come to the barn tomorrow (Saturday)? Well, my trainer told me last night that the barn owner got fed up with Indy bullying everybody and put him in with Steel, who takes no crap, and Indy tried to bully him and he bit Indy right back. That made D. mad at both my trainer and the barn owner, so I still have no idea what she wanted Toby for in the ring, but I like the situation even less now. Either way, she was absolutely not supposed to do that, and the barn owner will not be happy - he cares deeply for the horses, and they're his livelihood as well.



I feel guilty I didn't stand up for Tobes and at least suggest he's already worked and it's time for him to go roll in the dirt and eat like usual, but here we are.
 

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You need some clear cut ground rules and to stand your ground. "No." is a complete sentence. If you feel you must follow it with something then you follow it with - "These were my instructions. They did not include placing Toby in the pen/ring with Indy."



Your trainer is giving you more responsibility and trusting you in situations that you have to use your judgement. That is a good thing. Good that you did text your trainer and let her know what what what.



There are a few bad boys at the barn where my child rides. They have earned a pasture all to themselves where they can bully each other but are not free to bully anyone else. They've worked their issues out and don't fight amongst themselves but put them back with the main herd and they go after each other as well as everyone else. Too bad for D. Trainer and BO rule and if she doesn't like it then she is free to leave. There have been teens fired from area barns here for less than what you describe. The only horses they get to make decisions about are theirs and they cannot just include any of the other horses in their schemes just because.



So sorry for Toby. Hopefully he is none the worse for the wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #67
Thank you. You're right - it's my responsibility to stand my ground. I think it feels awkward to be not an employee and not leasing or boarding, so where to find my ground? But that's true - "I was told to untack Toby, groom him and turn him out." No debate, it is what it is. For all the years I've been working on it, apparently conflict is still tough for me.

I understand people conflict (and I don't like ending up in the middle of it), I just wish it would involve just people and not horses. I like to think if I owned a horse who was being a butthead and my BO told me so, I'd have the humility and sense to say, ok, what other arrangements can be made? Not try to get some petty vengeance or something.

As far as I know, Toby is fine. I haven't heard from my trainer about anything significant, and I trust she'd tell me. I'll send her another message today.
 

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There is a big difference between an adult seeing competence and experience in a teen and asking for advice and a teen feeling entitled and being a know it all because they can get away with it.



I think you are finding your ground. Your trainer sees value in your judgement and is showing you that she respects it. That's such a great feeling to have. Unlike the teens though you aren't going to let it go to your head.



Speaking of the bad boys, last night after DC fed and we got home, cleaned up, settled and dinner on the stove the BO calls in a panic because DC must have left a gate open and the bad boys had gotten in with another boarder's horses and the big guy was trying to kill the mare. Her two pasture mates were valiantly defending her. My poor child was in a panic thinking he caused all this. It took us all of 4 minutes to make a 10 minute drive. Luckily three of the bad ones gave up after the BO got after them with a stick and the three newbies were all for exiting the gate when she opened it. By the time we were out of the truck and at the fence those three were being tied and we went for halters to catch and remove the others. BO already had two so I went get two more (turned out to be one and a lead rope as there was a halter missing from one stall). By the time I got out to get those two the BO and DC were all the way to the back and at the gate into the barn pasture. DC is still feeling just awful about not checking gates. He thought he remembered it as closed, had not seen the three in the front and since none of the other 18 came out of that front pasture he just finished up and we left. Well guess what they found - the gate off the hinges, thrown to the side and bowed out in the middle... turns out the bad boys let themselves in. The one that was on a quick twist lead halter (lead rope only as the owner had not put her halter back where it belonged ) found out that those work just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #69
Clever horses, but still bad! I always figure this is why I don't want to give horses treats to train them - they're too smart for their own good.



According to my trainer, Toby was fine Saturday morning. I told her, too, if she needs a drag rider again during the week I'm happy to help out. She said she'll keep that in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #70
I had a frustrating Friday. I felt like I didn't do anything right at all, like I was trying but it just wasn't happening. I think it rubbed off on Toby. But mostly it's my fault. Like getting him to jog - the arena is a bit on the small side, and the terrain (it's grass footing) can be sort of questionable especially in one corner, but I'll try to get him to at least jog, and by the time he picks it up it's three strides and then we've hit the bad, rutted corner where he's likely to trip and then we're back to square one. Or, maybe I'm just afraid he'll trip, and he'll be fine. I felt like Friday I tried and tried and barely got him to trot half the ring at one go. And I know I shouldn't put up with that "extra fast walk" nonsense either, but how do I get him past that **** corner? Should I just - the hell with it, and cue him through it, and see what happens?



I know there were some ok spots on Friday, I just can't think of them now. I felt like I was letting my trainer down and, like she put it, teaching him nothing but that jog means walk really fast. Sigh.
 

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If your instructor feels it is safe then cue him through it. If he still refuses then give him a smart tap with the bat (smaller, thicker and with a leather slapper - makes a loud noise more than smarting). We all have those days. That you keep on and don't give up says much for you.




When it rains we have a corner that is slippery so we cut it so there is no slacking. They know to go where they are pointed so I don't have issues with them cutting when footing is good but would have lots of issues if they thought the correct thing to do was slow (drop their gait to a walk)for the curve.
 

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Discussion Starter #72
One thing I don't like is feeling like I'm riding angry. Whether I'm mad at him or myself or both. It's really like 90% my fault for not keeping at him, but I still feel angry. My trainer gives me the stick (the bat), and I try not to use it, not because I think it hurts him (probably flies hurt much worse), but because it feels like if I was doing it right, I wouldn't need it, you know? But it's a tool. And if words, legs, and more legs don't work...



It does make me feel discouraged. I'll try again this week, new Friday, new start.
 

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I took two kids of a friend's riding at a local rent a horse. While I have two horses that do well one is fixing to foal so not really an option unless they wanted lessons more than a trail ride. They would also have to be willing to follow instruction. One will, one won't. That was so evident on this ride. One did exactly as asked to the best of his ability. The other just started whining and griping and making rude comments about how stupid the horse was and how bad the horse was acting and how great a rider they were because they ride all the time (three other rent a horse rides). The horses are conditioned to follow the leader but if you don't supply the basics motivationally then they don't always comply. Often your motion has to be exaggerated. Even with a rider that knows the basics and knows how to ask there are horses that won't do as you ask unless you give them the added encouragement that says "hey, you horse you...I asked, I asked nicely, now I am TELLING you...MOVE" Get that mindset and that is where the bat can help and things turn around. If you were not asking correctly at this point your instructor would have had you work on that. He is in a ring, he is going round and round. he is likely bored senseless and just needs that push. It usually doesn't take more than once - if you deliver it in a timely manner and with some oomph behind it he'll take your request more seriously and move on out. You can't nag. That just tells him that he is really the one making the decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
Interesting couple of weeks. Friday before last went a lot better as far as not letting Toby get away with laziness. He did test, but he figured out (with firm, escalating cues) that yes, I meant it, and needed closer to normal cuing by the end (ie just voice and leg, vs voice and leg and more leg and bat behind my leg).

This past Friday I was drag rider again. My trainer asked if I would like either to play by myself with Toby in the ring at my usual time (under supervision but not instruction of another barn worker), or trail ride. As much as I'm pleased at being considered ready for that kind of independence, I opted for trail and operated as drag. It was walk-trot and nice weather. Of course Tobes has a bigger trot out on the trail but I thought it went nicely with not so much tension. Afterward I was groom, with Toby as usual and then helping feed and untack and turn out everyone (seven horses, including Toby). Good dirty work.

Turns out the teenager (actually she's 22) and her actual-teenager partner in nonsense were fired for an excessive level of petty vengence. (BO wouldn't allow 22yo to be a trail guide with an acute back injury that had put her on leave from her other job, so she spread lies on the internet and called the police on him for animal abuse. [The animals are fine. We have two old men of 30 and 40 who look their age. The 40 year old pony is a lawn ornament and the 30 year old does a walk ride or pony ride a couple times a week. It's hard to keep weight on him, but he's alert, interested, and otherwise sound & healthy.] Anyway the inspectors did their thing and cleared the barn owner. They had told him who filed the complaint and he fired her, so here we are.)

At any rate, I like drag riding and helping out, as much as I like a good lesson. Makes me feel useful. I like helping the less experienced kids or nervous folks, because I know how it feels and I want people to enjoy their ride and not be stressed out either.
 

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Discussion Starter #75
Facebook reminded me that it's been a year since I took my friend on a trail ride - the first time I'd been on a horse in more than a decade. A lot's happened since then for sure! It's hard to see my own progress, but my instructor helpfully reminds me, and sometimes I notice it for myself. I wouldn't have thought I could ride without stirrups and reins at a walk, for one, nevermind a jog or trot.


If I didn't know better, I'd think my instructor was purposely finding excuses to leave me alone with Toby in the ring for short periods of time. Actually, I may not know better, and I have a sneaking suspicion it may just be a convenient way of testing my ability to handle him on my own and put him through some of his paces without "Auntie" putting the fear of god into him. I'm not bothered by it - like I would've been, say, a year ago, and if it is a test, well, I think we're doing ok.


Two weeks ago, when he was being a sloth, it took him three commands and a bat behind my leg to get him into a jog. This week, we did better - he realized I meant it, and while we're not at right-off-at-first-cue, he wasn't slothing nearly as much. I think it helped that the weather was so much nicer today and not broiling hot or humid. The flies are still bad, though, and even coating him in about a half-gallon of bug stuff didn't seem to help him. As for me in the trot, well - last week I was drag rider for a walk/trot, and of course the horses all trot just a bit faster in the open trail than in the ring, and I think my brain figured well, we did a few rounds of that and it wasn't awful, so the ring should be fine. I felt a lot less nervous than I often do, and Tobes could probably feel it.



After the ride when I was putting on his hoof dressing, I noticed he had some swelling in - I think it's called the heel bumps, at the back of the hoof but above the frog - and some extra flies were clustering, and it turns out he's got a cut back there. It's not open, but it is swollen, so my trainer had me put some ointment on it and they'll keep an eye on it. He doesn't seem currently obviously bothered by it, but since horses live on their feet, and feet are a tricky proposition (even in humans - I know from experience that the tiniest little opening can lead to a major infection!). Thankfully he's at least been tick-free for the past month or so, that's something.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
So I was actually thinking about cancelling my lesson, because I worked 46 hours on the ambulance over 3 days and then 5 more hours at my gym job this morning and I have been propelling myself along with combination of caffeine and sheer willpower.


But, it's a good thing I didn't.



At the end of the lesson, I worked for about 10+ minutes with no reins or stirrups, and finally (I thought it was early) told my instructor "...I think I have to stop." just out of sheer exhaustion, and she said "You're actually over time, but I was having so much fun watching you steer, I didn't want to tell you to stop." I was working, I think, pretty hard, trying to stay relaxed - I put my hands on top of my helmet just to try and keep myself from defaulting to the saddle horn or the reins (which were behind the saddle horn - they are long, so no pressure on Toby) even when Tobes was trying to go eat - trying to keep him going forward just leg, keep him from going for a snack. I will feel it tomorrow and feel it already, but it was pretty good.


The best, thing, though, was when we were working in jog/trot, and - ok so, back in the winter, when I was lunging him in the pen, I could see his jog and his trot. And he has this springy, light trot that my trainer described as a floating trot, though on him it's not quite as fancy as on some horses. But he moves like his legs are springs and you wouldn't think a 1200+lb animal could move that lightly.


So we were jogging and I was sitting in it nicely - alternating jog and walk, when we hit the muddy side of the arena - and thinking ok this is going well. And I got him up to speed again and for about thirty feet, I could feel that spring *exactly*, but not in a jostling way, I could just feel how he moved, and I wasn't jostling, and for about that thirty feet it was like my brain lit up. Like "oh, *oh*, this is it" and I am going to get back to that feeling if it kills me (hopefully it won't). Oh man, that was nice.
 

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It sounds like you had one of those "perfect" moments in time. That is what keeps many of us riding.
 

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They can be very illusive and the more you ride the further apart they seem to get because you remember them as light bulb moments. Over time they just become a Zen feeling.
 
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