Saturday, August 22, 2009

New "bridle" and hay...

So I go to look at the hay last night...

...long story short I got me some hay, and have a new source about 4 miles from my house at a reasonable price to get the grassy cheap kind of hay I need. And to top it off we actually knew the guy and didn't realize it. Turns out he is friends with our neighbors and back summer before last when our main water line blew out he actually brought his small backhoe over and trenched the whole thing out for us. I think we paid him with a case of beer. Nice folks. So "country" that you almost hear dueling banjos play when you pull in the drive. What they lack in teeth and proper grammar they more than make up for by being just about the nicest dang people you ever met.

They also had the most adorable little mules I ever saw. I was tempted to steal one and bring him home. They must have one mare who they breed back to a donkey every year because they have identical little mules in graduated sizes, lol. I am tempted by mules with huge feet and ears. Maybe someday..... These didn't have big feet, though. They had cute little tiny feet. The one was sooo curious about us but the guy said his cousins or brothers or someone had tried riding him and he was a bit skittish now. They'd thought the mule was trained and just hopped on. They quickly discovered two things: 1) pony mule was NOT trained and 2)the ground is hard.

So I'd been riding Brego in my home made rope halter sidepull. But the rope I used was very soft and flexible and had a lot of give to it. I was going to buy some stiffer rope to make another but I found a Mustang brand rope halter side pull at Chick's Saddlery for $7.99 and I can't buy the rope and rings for that cheap! They had dewormer on sale for cheap too, so I got the sidepull and the dewormer. I rode him in it today and it works much better for communication. It gives instant pressure when I ask and instant release when he gives the right response. I only had one "discussion" with him about turning and he learned that laying into the bridle is more uncomfortable than he would like now that it has less give to it.

I got a really good forward walk out of him, got some nice easy turns, got some really good tight turns in both directions. I asked for a "whoa" for the first time and he didn't like that. He did some head tossing. But I circled him back around and toward the fence then asked him to stop just before he had no choice but to stop. Rinsed, repeated three or four times. Asked for a stop in the middle of the paddock. He slowed way down, lol. But we will get that down later. He obviously showed he knows "kinda" what it means by slowing way down. So I asked for a few more stops at the fence and called it good on that, then got a couple of more circles around the paddock before climbing down.

I know I am going really slow with this but I am NOT a trainer. I know my training skills are mediocre at best. Everything I do involves just trying to have the right timing so he figures out what I am asking for. I know a pro would have him pretty well into walk/trot and stop/go by two weeks into things but I'm not a pro, and I'm also not in any hurry. So far I am delighted by our slow progress, because it IS progress. Once he understands what I am asking for better I will start making our training sessions longer. For now it is obvious that our short training sessions give him a lot to think about so I don't want to over do it.

I'm still slowly getting the scurf out of his feather but I am already getting hair regrowth over most of the area that had scratches on it. I'm still treating him every day, and he is so sick of it but I treat while he is distracted with his breakfast so it's no biggie.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I'm going to look at some first cutting grass hay tomorrow evening. Didn't get to ride today, it was super windy and I didn't want him jumping around on me. Plus I had a buttload of stuff to do. Move clean gourds, move fence so they had more grass, hide inside each time a sudden storm popped up... etc.

We are expecting a delivery of some paperwork for the laptop Tsu won (for real!) so I was concerned about the driveway being blocked by temp fence... so i sat outside working on a commissioned gourd for a while then sat out there next to the temp fence with my feet up on an empty cat litter bucket chilling with my ponies and reading "Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual" by Myke Hawke.

So far this book is awesome. I borrowed it from the library but I WANT to own a copy. I just finished Chapter 1: the Psychology of Survival... wow. This guy is awesome. That chapter has things that could help people live a better life right now, survival or not. I saw him on Good Morning America and wanted to see if his book was just another useless "if you are lost in the woods with a gun, knife, machete, 10 yards of canvas, and a full week's worth of non-perishable foods this is how you can survive" book or if it might actually have some useful info. So far it looks like the real deal, not useless crap.

I'm half way through chapter 2: shelter. Usually these kind of books tell you how to build a wickiup/wigwam or some other fairly large labor intensive shelter. He explains how to get up off the ground to stay safe and dry and how to get just enough shelter over your head the first night to stay dry until you have time to do something more substantial. Imagine that! Yeah, I want to buy a copy of this one already.

Sprinkled throughout the book are hints at this guy's humour revealed through personal stories, and I have to say... I like this guy. He takes what is a highly technical knowledge base and breaks it down so the average housewife can understand and use the info in an emergency. And if you think you won't ever need this information stop and think for a moment... did the people in New Orleans think they would ever have to sleep tied into a tree while a hurricane whipped around them? What about tornadoes, flash floods, power outages, or crashing economies that leave people homeless? Global disasters like atomic bombs and swine flu epidemics aren't the only reason to learn how to survive if the system breaks down. One good electrical storm could leave you needing to know how to find food for a few days.

I know, I sound like one of those wacky survivalist nuts trying to lure you into reading a wacky book about wacky things you will never need to know. But it can't hurt to know how to tell safe berries from deadly ones, even if you never end up having to live off of them, right? lol.

I'll give a final review when I finish the book but so far it is awesome. As soon as my paypal gets up to enough from doing my paid surveys I'll be ordering this one for sure.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ride # 3...

...not to be confused with Mambo #5. Heh.

We got 20 minutes saddle time. I woke my kid up and told her to check on me frequently and if she looks out and notices me on the ground bleeding to dial 911. *snicker*

We did pretty good. Lots of walking and turning. He is comfortable enough with the concept of me on his back now to start letting me know when he would rather not do what I ask, haha! I have great flexibility in his neck at a stand still, and if I ask him to go where he already wants to go we do OK, but he is trying to see if he can ignore me (no) and if he can't ignore me if he can give me his head but keep walking the direction HE wants to walk (also no).

So today we worked on understanding that mom does not release pressure until you give her the response she wants, which is to give your head and then follow with your body. I think our next several rides will be along the same lines. I think the 20 minute ride time is good. It gives him time for stuff to sink in without getting to the point where he is frustrated. It's also all that my out of shape self can handle right now. lol.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Done, done and done.


Well, the divider fence is done so I have a treeless place to ride. I put in a gate so they can come in and out as they please except when I am in there working one of them.

The hairy bear has had his feather on all four feet washed, dried and medicated. The fronts are still fine I'm just trying to make sure they stay that way. I have separate supplies I use on the fronts and do them first so if there is anything infectious causing the scratches it won't spread to them from my tools. His skin is looking really good so as fast as the scratches came on they seem to be clearing up.

The last of my gourds from last year are now CLEAN! So no more gourd cleaning this year unless I somehow manage to find some for sale cheap that need cleaning. I've been working on those for a whole week now! SOOO glad they are done.

I got some pictures of the ponies grazing in the front yard after I finished all my stuff and between rain showers.




They like this place back in the pines.



They are all shedding their summer coats and starting to grow in their winter hair. Brego ends up looking like his white spots are snowing on his dark spots, lol.

I can't wait to ride him again tomorrow. I also got a lead on some reasonably good grass hay for cheap.... I'm crossing my fingers that it turns out to be as good and as cheap as I have been told.

Scratches blarg...

So every day I have been treating Brego's hind legs with my mix of listerine, baby oil and conditioner. The scurf if gradually working it's way off, the skin underneath is mostly pale pink but he lost a lot of the short hair on his legs. Not to the point of baldness, but just so you can see pink skin through the hair that is left. He is not at all itchy or anything, which is a good thing but still the scratches incident has freaked me out. lol.

I need to give those legs a good scrubbing and drying (Hm, I wonder how he would react to the hair drier.........) but it is supposed to rain AGAIN today after raining all day yesterday. You are NOT helping WEATHER!!!

The good thing, though, is that I forgot I had some Malaseb shampoo here from back when I had Mylo and he had yeast infections on his feet (secondary infections to his allergy issue). So if it stops raining long enough *sigh* I will give him a good scrub with it and once he is dry retreat with my magic scratches mix. Then probably next week or so I will start applying Desitin until the hair start coming back in the thin spots.

I'll just be glad when the scurf is all gone from the hair. UGH. That drives me nuts.

No more rides over the weekend, too much stuff going on and I was not able to put the new dividing fence up in the barn lot to give me a safe tree free area to ride. I'm itching to get back into the saddle but clearing up those hind feet and getting that fence up is priority right now.