OK, so technically, this is Tia's first ride since she has been with me. (Warning: This post will be Pic Heavy)
I have been doing a lot of ground work and lunging with her to make sure that she at least has most of the basics down. Before anyone is ever allowed on one of my horses, the horse must know the whoa command. No exceptions. Tia knows her whoa command! She actually prefers the WHOA to any other "gait" LOL.
My wonderful student, Becca, has agreed to be Tia's rider while we work her until she is sold. I decided to build a makeshift round pen to free lunge her in before having Becca ride her. I have been lunging her on a line, which she has gotten much better about, but my shoulder just cant take the pressure sometimes and free lunging, in my opinion, builds such a better relationship. The moment we started free lunging, her attention was on me and she was licking and chewing a lot. She was much more responsive to my body position and voice commands off the line.
Mom...What are we doing?? Where is my nice comfy surcingle?
Lunging on the line.
First time with a bit (Since I got her!) Just a plain ole snaffle!
More free lunging
Free lunging in side reins.
I had walked out of the ring while she wasn't looking...after I snapped this pictures
she immediately came over to me like "what do you think you are doing out there?"
After about 15 minutes of lunging, with a bit and side reins on for about 10 minutes of the 15, Becca and I decided it was time to mount up.
Mom...why is Becca tightening the girth??
Tia stood very well for Becca to hop on. We took a moment for Becca to wiggle and pet and move around in the saddle. The whole time this was happening, Tia looked to me for comfort. After a few minutes, we walked. Tia followed me for about 5 minutes before I sent Becca the signal to take control. And they walked.
Tia good way. The more they rode together, the more relaxed she got.
Are my friends still out there??
Tia's bad way.
Big scary noisy truck going down the road. Tia's stopped, watched the truck, sighed and moved on.
(This is one of my favorite pictures!)
Every time Becca would ask Tia do do something, whether it be turn, move on, etc, Tia checked with me before doing anything. This mare is def a one person horse. She bonds with her person and I truly believe that once you have that bond with her, she will protect you no matter what. She only pulled two stunts the entire ride. The first was acting like she was going to lay down with Becca on her, which was quickly reprimanded and not tried again. The second was a little tiny buck that Becca quickly whacked her for and she didn't try that again either.
They then moved on to trotting!
I also got video. I have edited out the boring stuff (standing, excessive time walking and taking breaks to scratch her face). The camera put itself into compact mode which made the picture quite grainy. I will be videoing this weekends ride as well. Hopefully the camera wont do that again!
Her stifle is still "sticky" to me. It has come a very long way since I have started having April out to work on her, but at this point I feel she needs something extra. I have started her on Next Level joint supplement. I chose this supplement over the Dumor that TSC had simply because of the level of MSM in it. I am a huge MSM fan. Once this container of NL is done, I will probably switch her to a cheaper supplement and see how she does. I am really hoping this helps her. You will see in the video how off she is on that right side. Rehabbing stifle issues is tricky. Lots of straight lines and poles and hills - I have to lunge her, for Becca's safety, which means lots of circles. I think I am going to make the round pen bigger this weekend and see if that helps. I will also be moving some ground poles into the ring to get her to lift and disengage that hip.
All in all, the girls had a great ride. I'm not going to lie. I cried like an idiot for a few minutes. This mare has come such a long way, and she TRUSTS me, something I thought she would never be able to do again. It is very obvious to me now that she was started under saddle way to young and way to roughly. My thought is that this is why they bred her as a 3 year old. She wouldn't settle down and conform, they bred her to get the "piss and vinegar" out of her. When that didn't work, they sent her to slaughter. In some ways, I thank God that her previous owner got her from the Camelot Auction. How else would she have ended up with me? It was by God's grace alone that my friend, Michelle, contacted me about Tia instead of someone else. There are plenty of other horse people in the state of MD that would have taken her. But Michelle contacted me.
Michelle - if you read this blog, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I wasn't ready for another horse, especially an emaciated, known to be a nasty SOB mare with very little training. At least I didn't think I was. Thank you Michelle.
Since Tia has come to me, she no longer kicks, she is wonderful for the farrier, excellent for the vet, she now rides and has very nice ground manners. I don't tolerate behavior like she had when she came to me. She now goes out with 2 other mares, a TB gelding and 2 evil goats. Everyone gets along. The pecking order is established. She LOVES the water. She will go swimming in our pond every chance she gets..even in 50 degree weather!
I have someone who is interested in coming out to see her the weekend after Christmas. A huge part of me really hopes this lady likes her, and another part of me wants to keep Tia forever. I keep reminding myself that I am doing the right thing for Tia by finding her a wonderful forever home. And that maybe, by finding her her home, another horse that may need help will find me. I have thoroughly enjoyed the rehab process with Tia. Sure, there are been moments of "holy crap", but the love and trust that this mare has shown me is in-surpassible.
I will end this post with a few photos of Tia after her first ride and the link for the video. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.
I have decided to offer Tia up for sale early. If the right person doesnt come along she wont go anywhere.
Thanks In Advance AKA: Tia Registration pending with The Pinto Horse Association of America. Bloodlines unknown. Beautiful black and white pinto mare. Stands 14.3-15 hands. 6 years old. Currently being completely restarted under saddle. UTD on coggins, worming. I don’t do fall shots - if sold before Spring shots, I will cover them if need be. Beautiful mover. Wonderful personality. A very loving
little girl who looks to her handler for permission and respect. She loves to learn and be worked with. She does require an Intermediate rider/handler. There is not a mean bone in her body. She tends to be a bit flighty at times. An excellent home is a MUST. She will be sold with a buy back clause in the contract and a 2 week trial period. If she doesn’t work out, she comes home. Price will increase with training. $2000 OBO (To EXCELLENT home only!)
Well, I did it. I finally just dug my heels in and worked Tia. I have been making excuses for quite a while now because I have been afraid of falling more in love with the mare. I can now honestly say, there is no longer a worry about that. Evil mare.
Now, I can honestly say, she did well. She has always had an issue with this whole lunging thing. She is much better to the right, and quite horrible at the left, so every time we go left, she balks and plants that shoulder and spins herself around. Today, was the first time I said NO. The past few times I have lunged her have been for about 15 minutes each time, I was worried about her hip/stifle, and when she balks I have always politely asked her to return the way she was going. Today, was different. I have had enough of the "I dont want to's" and "but Moooommmmm's" and I put my foot down. It only took her about 30 minutes to figure out I wasn't playing anymore and she decided to be good.
Of course that was after...
oh and this...
Look what I can do!!!!
Yeah. The one I didn't get on camera was the wonderful stop, spin, rear AT ME complete with squeal, and then head toss. Defiant little bugger! We had a wonderful Come To Jesus meeting after that one.
This is where we ended up!
The session ended about an hour after it started. Tia was pretty sweaty and I honestly felt bad about how hard I had worked her....until we got in the barn....
Got in the barn, removed the bit-less bridle, went to put her halter on her, and WHAM! She threw her head in my face..No No #1. When I went to reprimand her, she squealed and swung her butt at me..No No #2. I verbally reprimanded, she refused to give me her head and swung her butt again..No No #3. Three strikes, she's out. I whacked her on the butt, which succeeded in her squealing, jumping over the hay bale for tonight, and then hauling ass out of the barn and down to her pasture. This succeeded in PISSING ME OFF!
Now, my rule is that you have 3 seconds to kill a horse. That rule ends at 3 seconds. It doesn't mean you have 3 seconds to kill them when you catch them, its a immediate deal. That evil mare refused to be caught (remind you that she still has her surcingle, pad and side reins on) for at least 5 minutes. When I finally got her to chill out enough to put her halter on, the 3 second rule was over, Damn it! So, back up to the barn we went. To Stand! On Cross Ties! Forever! Muuaahhhaaaa!
Sorry. So back to the barn we went. She stood on cross ties for about 10 minutes before I took her tack off, brushed her down, did her feet, sprayed her with Healthy Haircare, gave her a treat and then hand walked her back to the pasture like a good little Pasture Pony, which she has decided she likes being way better than a pony that has to work for a living.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope that everyone got to spend some much needed time with friends, family and loved ones this year! This year, I have so many things to be thankful for. If you don't mind, I just want to take a minute before updating everyone on Tia, to just say a few words.
For as long as I can remember, my family has always been there for me. I can only hope to be as good to my family as they were/are to me. My Mom and Dad have supported me in all of my endeavors, even the ones they knew wouldn't work or last. They have provided me with a foundation for success, but I have to choose whether or not I want to build on that foundation or throw caution to the wind, and build my own. My Brother, through all of his faults, has really impressed me over the past few months. He and his girlfriend have really completed each other. It is so nice to see him so happy and comfortable with himself as a person.
My husband is really one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Exceptionally smart and unbelievably talented (even if he doesn't think he is), he surpasses every thought I ever had about who I would spend the rest of my life with. We all have our "frying pan" moments, but through everything we have been through, he has been my rock, my knight in shinning armor. I love him more everyday, even if I thought that couldn't be possible.
My daughter, Gwen, is honestly, the greatest gift of all. She is smart, funny, independent, full of spit and vinegar and total Daddy's girl. She shares both of our love for animals and has fallen head over heels in love with Tia. All she talks about is being able to ride Tia someday. (Insert super cute picture of Gwen's first horse show on Mocha man!)
My final thankful, before the Tia update (bare with me!), is for my horses. One in particular.
This, is Boomer. Registered name Bradley Osgood. Boomer was "My Heart Horse". When he passed away on November 3, 2010, I honestly thought I was done with horses. I didn't want to own another one ever. I didn't want to give lessons anymore. I didn't want to train. Even just being around horses hurt. To this day, I wonder if I will ever get over the loss of such an amazing friend and confidant. He carried many of my young students around the round pen on their first rides, around the trails on their first trail rides and around the show ring for their first shows. My daughter got to ride Boomer twice before he fell to ill to do anything more than look beautiful in his field. She was only about a year old when she sat on his back, but it is something I will never forget. My boy took great care of my little girl and for that I will be eternally grateful.
And it is because of Boomer, that I am thankful for Tia. This mare came into my life when I didn't think I was ready to love again. She has shown me that just because Boomer is gone, doesn't mean I have to fill his shoes. Tia has shown me love, and kindness, and trust...something I didn't think I could have with any horse other than Boomer. Tia has shown me that I need horses in my life. Not just giving lessons and working with other people horses, but having a horse of my own is where my heart, and my foundation, lies. I admitted to two of my students last night the real reason I have been putting off working with Tia. I am scared...to love her. I know what is going to happen after I get her trained...I will be selling her. (I have to keep repeating that to myself) I already love this mare. She reminds me a lot of my old show mare, Majic. But the reasons why I love this mare are very different. I love this mare because she loves me. I love this mare because she trusts me. I love this mare because she needs me...and I need her. I love this mare because I can. I love this mare, and I am thankful for the opportunity to know and love this mare as my own.
And now that I am sitting at my desk crying like an idiot, I will update on Tia!
I have sent in the application to have her registered with the Pinto Association of America. Registered name Thanks In Advance. I am super excited about this. It means a whole new world of possibilities for Tia!
Last night, we had April come back out for another adjustment. She is still pretty stiff in her neck, ribs and hip area, but April got her kinks out. I have also been given some exercises to do with her to get her back muscling up again and to fix the muscling in her neck. So, this weekend, the surcingle will be used!
Mia, the Fjord, got adjusted for the first time last night. Ber was done first and I got there later then expected so I didn't get pictures of Ber...but here are some of Mia.
Mia felt much better after her adjustment. We have always had some issues with Mia bending to the right, and now we know why. Poor girl had a huge knot in her neck. Should have seen her bending afterwards! Wow!
Tia had us laughing so hard last night we couldn't see straight. She has taken to doing this little squeal thing whenever you even slightly reprimand her, which is not backed up by anything..just a cute little squeal which makes us all giggle. She thinks she is being miss big bad mare...she is wrong. Well, we also found out that when we do the "Pole Pop" as Becca calls it, she squeals a little as well. We got video of it...you have to listen kinda carefully because we were laughing, but you can hear her little squeal.
Video - You Tube hates me at the moment and wont let me embed the darn thing!
Any who...Here are some pictures of her adjustment last night! Anyone in the Maryland, DC area looking for a wonderful Acupressure/Chiro for your horse, check out April Travis. She is wonderful!
Couldn't have done this when I first brought her home!!!!
April hit a really good spot and Tia's lips were all over the place!!!!
I know, I know. I'm a horrible blog keeper! The past few weeks have kind of flown by. I had to switch my feeding nights at the barn from during the week, to just the weekends. Dragging my poor three year old to the barn until 8 at night was not working out! So, now I only get to see my girl on the weekends. (I live about 45 minutes from the barn, so going down there every night isn't really an option at the moment, especially since all I would be able to do is tell her that I wanted to work her and then leave)
That being said, Daylight Savings Time Ending will be the death of me. It gets dark far to early! Tia still gets quite a bit of grain, so working her right after her breakfast is not something I am a fan of. But, then again, it gets dark at 5pm, and most of my day on Saturdays and Sundays are filled with lessons, going to get feed, spending time with my daughter and my Mom or (gasp) actually getting to see my husband while we are both awake. Sigh. Sometimes I feel like I will never get Tia worked....
And then there is the slight issue of her back end....I am actually a little worried. It may just be a lack of muscle but she is really stabbing her right hind leg...constantly. It looks to me like a blown stifle. Super sticky through the joint and quick to get off the leg. After her appt with April 2 weeks ago, it was much better. But now, I am seeing some major stickiness going on. April is due to come back out on the 28th I believe, but I'm concerned that she may need more at this point.
I have always had wonderful success with keeping my old man on a joint supplement with MSM to help with his stifle issues. It def seemed to help him and keep the joint and muscle working in better harmony. My concern is that at this point, how do I know putting her on a supplement will help? I cant get down there in the week to work her, we don't have lights outside in the ring, and working her once a day on weekends may not be enough. Although it will be more than what she is being worked currently.
I have all these grand plans..and then life happens. I want Tia to be the best she can be, and right now, I feel like I am her biggest obstacle. She can't go forward without my help, I know this. So why am I being the one to let her down? Why do I make excuses to not work with her? Why do I choose to not work her in the morning after all the chores are done instead of saying, "Oh I will just come back early this evening and work her" and then it never happens. I am sabotaging the mare I swore to save. Sigh. I know I need to just do it and get over myself. I know I need to make the time. I seem to make excuses for not working with her. Could it be because I have actually become attached to this mare? This mare that has these horrible personality and training faults? This mare that reminds me so much of my first show horse? This mare that has stolen my daughters heart? My intentions for this mare when I took custody of her, were to get her better, train the heck out of her, and find her a new loving home. I never intended to keep her. EVER. She is far to small for me and lets be honest...shes a mare. I don't do mares. And then I see myself hanging out with her. She has become this super affectionate, loving, trusting mare that would do anything I asked her to just for a head scratch. I know I CANT keep her, but try telling my heart that.
Not quite sure where all that came from, when I originally wanted to just get some opinions on supplements and some different excersizes I could do with her, other than ground driving and going over poles and hills. Suggestions??????
As you guys have probably read, I have been a bit concerned about Tia's back right hip. She seems to be sticky through her stifle area and really doesn't seem to have much ability to bend..at all. Now, I know how to treat a stifle injury. Straight lines, poles and hills. Got it. But, my brain wasn't to sure that was just what was going on. I started thinking, "you know, her sudden mood swings, the kicking, the not bending, the running from pressure, I wonder if this is ALL pain related?" So, when Nikki said her Massage Therapist was coming out for Ber Ber, I asked if she would be willing to take a look at Tia as well.
Before I go any further, I just want to say, I have never been much for equine massage therapy. I know it works on some horses and a lot of people swear by it. If you would have asked me if I used a massage therapist I probably would have laughed at you....Not Anymore! Having April take a look at Tia was the best decision ever. EVER!
(For those interested, here is April's website. She was super nice, treated Tia with the utmost respect, talked to her the entire time, extremely friendly and down to earth. I really liked her, and so did Tia!)
April started at her front end and ended with her back end. From getting her to pop her neck, working out three huge knots in her neck, stretching her legs, working on her stifle/hip area and stretching the back legs and we must not forget Tia's favorite stretch...the wither stretch! I have never seen this mare as relaxed as she was last night.
After Tia was done, I had to run and give a lesson so I couldn't stay, I was told she went right to sleep in her stall while April worked on two other horses.
Now, I need you all to really realize something. When this mare first came home, she was flighty, scared and refused to do anything she didn't want to do, which included picking up her feet. Last night, she picked up and let April stretch out all four feet with no fight at all. There were a few times last night that I got a little teary eyed. She has come such a long way. There is no way April would have been able to work with her right after I got her without me feeling like I was putting April in danger. She really is turning out to be a nice mare with tons of potential.
That being said, I am now an advocate for Equine Massage Therapy. If you feel your horse is off, stiff, or just not themselves, have an EMT come out and just check them over. More times then not, its something small that can be fixed for a lot less money then the vet will charge just for the farm call!
I made the right decision for Tia. And I do believe that Tia thanks me for it!
I don't really have much to report on. It has been super cold since Hurricane Sandy came through. We got really lucky and had no damage or injury's at the barn. Everyone stayed inside in their nice warm stalls with plenty of water and hay!
On a personal note, it has been crazy the past week or so. Between people not owning up to their responsibilities, family and friends becoming sick and sewer issues I think I need a vacation!
On a good note, Tia is looking WONDERFUL! I lunged her for a little bit on Saturday morning and the stifle issue def seems to be more prominent. I ordered a surcingle last week, so hopefully that will come in this week and I can start line driving her up some hills and over some polls. Lunging is not something I want to do with her if she has something going on with that stifle. A friend from the barn has a acupuncturist/chiropractor friend that comes out to do her horse every 2 months or so. She is coming this week, I am hoping to get her to take a look at Tia just to make sure it isn't something in her back/hip.
I am now switching her feed over. Hopefully this will be the last switch. She has been on Blue Seal Senior and Blue Seal Performance LS since I got her. She has picked up the weight nicely and just recently really started packing on the pounds. She is now on Blue Seal Senior and Blue Seal Sport. She will eventually just be on the Sport Formula which I think is fantastic!
Wow! Just Wow! What a difference good feed, good hay and structured turnout can do!
This mare has totally blown my mind in the past couple days. She is now letting me pick up all 4 feet with NO PROBLEMS at all. No tugging, no pulling, no flying backwards. She stands super quiet on the cross ties and lets my 3 year old daughter, with supervision, lead her around the barn. She has not offered to kick or be nasty in the last 2 weeks. Her temperament is wonderful. Very quiet, very in your pocket, very loving.
I am going to try to find my circingle that is somewhere in Mom's barn...wish me luck on finding it! I need to start building up her back muscle before I put anyone on her. I am really hoping to get some good training on her and get her on the market in the spring. Gwen has asked to ride her...we shall see how she does with some training. If I still have her by show season next year, maybe Gwen can take her in lead line!!!
One last set of pictures for you to compare.... These two pictures really brought it home to me!