Monday, July 30, 2007

Mailbox Surprise

So I got something exciting in the mail today. My certificate for passing Level One Parelli came today. I got a nice red savvy string and a level one pin. I am really excited about this little package. I am proud of my girl, she worked very hard to get this and I think she is a solid Level One horse. I am new to the natural horsemanship thing, and I know not everyone who reads my blog buys into it.
I choose to take bits of everything and see what gets results, and I am finding great results with Parelli. I am just bummed that I am at a stand still. Maddy is still a little sore on her front. I am getting shoes on her on Thursday and see how that goes. For now, I just need to enjoy her accomplishments and hope that we are back on track soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My own cartoon!

A friend of mine made this cartoon for me. Very cool! The things you can do with a Mac! The horse in the picture is "Blue." He is a great guy, an old retired reining horse. I used to lease a horse from his owner and I always made time to brush and give him treats. He is the type of horse that takes care of people. Anyone would be lucky to know a horse like this in their lifetime. Good old Blue.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Maddy gets a float

I am getting close to using a bit on Maddy, so I wanted to get her teeth floated and wolf teeth checked before starting. We had Dr. Alan Blanke from Epona Sporthorses out this morning to do three horses. Queenie the draft mare was up first. She is such a sweet mare, I just love her. If I could afford two horses, she would be mine. Queenie has had a tough week. She got kicked in the shoulder and chipped a flare on her front hoof. Her owner told me it has been an expensive week. I was not sure of Maddy's previous dental history. At her vet check, it was suggested that she get them floated in the Spring. After Queenie woke up, it was Maddy's turn. She was a trooper and did really well with the sedation and got woozy pretty quickly. To anyone who has never seen this procedure, the contraption used to hold the mouth open almost looks medival. You put it on like a halter and it opens up the mouth so the vet has access to the teeth. I assisted by putting my foot on the base of the head support and holding her tongue. The vet uses a dremel tool with all sorts of sanding heads to grind the teeth down. There is lots of noise and debris. I got to wear safety googles. Upon inspection, Dr. Blanke noticed one wolf tooth coming in, so I had that removed. It is a little thing, that he seemed to pop out easily. Not too much blood, but enough to make me feel bad for her:-( We waited with her in the stall for her to wake up. We passed the time by making her beautiful by pulling her mane. The vet told me Maddys teeth had "ramps" as opposed to "waves." I stayed with her for about two hours afterwards and gave her applesauce laced with some Bute. I am told no bit for at least 10 days and no grain for tonight. Total bill was a mere $286...ouch for me!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I am in a rut. I have let my barn dilema spiral into this huge stress. I board at a barn that is about 30 miles from my house and is $475 a month. It is full of good people and I love my trainer, but it lacks the "tools" I feel I need to take Maddy to the next level. There is no round pen, no outdoor arena, and no "honey-comb," all things the other barn has. My new barn would be 3 miles from this beautiful equestrian park that inspired me to get back into horses. I can't wait to ride there again on my own horse. But in leaving, I feel like I am leaving the nest, and jumping into the unknown. My trainer, is someone I really trust and I know she is always right about things. We make small steps together and she knows my horse. But I am at least a year out from getting really serious about dressage. The new place would do wonders for Maddys learning curve. It is a Parelli barn that has all sorts of tires, and barrels, and jumps. I love the outdoor arena and you all know how much I love the honeycomb. I am nervous about moving her and what her behavior will be at the new place. I don't know what she is like to load. I don't have a trailer and I will have to hire someone to haul her. I had made up my mind to turn in my notice last week and then she came up lame and I started to panic about moving her. What vet will I use, what farrier, ect. So I am sitting in limbo, scared to make the wrong decision. I feel frozen and miserable. I really struggle with decision making, but this is the worst one for me. All day long I go back and forth and I know no one can make it for me, yet I want someone to take my hand and say "Julie, you belong at barn X."

Friday, July 20, 2007


So this week has been very stressful. Monday, Maddy starting limping on her left front. On Wednesday, she looked like she was limping on both front feet. My farrier was coming on Thursday, so I wanted him to take a look before I called a vet. Her feet were pretty long, so I was hoping it was just the "tilt." You all ask..."Why are her feet long?" Well Andrew, the farrier, has been very timid around Maddy. He has never "nipped" her feet and has only used a rasp. He has given me all sorts of "assignments" with her feet before he really "goes in." I work with her feet everytime I am at the barn. She has never done anything stupid, but she does get nervous around him and sucks up her back legs when he goes to pick them up. I thought he would trim her the last time because she was standing there so nicely and he just rasped away and left.
So this time, I brought her to him. He saw her feet and commented on how long they were and I told him he needed to "trim" them. He watched me work her and saw how sore she was. He told me, "We will see how she goes." I knew she would stand there. I knew how much work I put in on those feet. She was perfect. He even got out that stand and had her front feet up on it and she just stood there. Andrew told me I was doing a good job with her, but he still had more "assignments" for me. Now I have to set her feet on objects and when she is ok with that, I am supposed to set her feet on objects and walk away. Her feet finally look normal. She got a full manicure today. I lunged her for him after the trim and she looked like she was moving better. Andrew thought maybe she was just "heel sore." So we are giving her a couple days to see how she goes. She looked much better today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mini Maddy!

This is what Maddy would look like if she were a pony! I went to the Country Classic this weekend down in Wilsonville, Oregon. It is a big Hunter/Jumper event. When I go to Hunter/Jumper shows, I have no idea what I am watching. I don't understand the scores, the patterns, or the divisions. All I know is they are not supposed to knock down a pole. I go because there are just lots of beautiful horses, good vendors, and the tickets are usually free from my work. This little pony caught my eye, because she looked just like my girl---even running with the head high--classic Maddy! I went with my boyfriend who enjoyed watching peoples expressions as they rode by, more than the horses. He said, "they either look scared to death or in pain." I told him, "it is just concentration."
Probably a combination of all three:-). There really were some impressive horses. Lots of beautiful dappled bays. One rider flew in from France to compete and his horse balked over one of the jumps. I felt pretty bad for him. I do have to learn more about the sport. I filmed a hunter/jumper group out at the Hood River Classic a couple years ago that is on my website if anyone wants to watch it. That was my first experience with the H/J world.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Billy to the Rescue

I have been melting the last two days in Oregon with 100 degree temperatures. I came back from California expecting to get some nice breezy days, but it has been so hot.
On my first trail ride down in Yreka, we braved the elements and headed out behind the property to explore the cave. Laura was on a young paint she is starting named "Billy the Kid." I was on good old "Buddy." We took all the dogs which range from "Benny" the Corgi, all the way up to a Rhodesian Ridgeback named "Annie." The cave is like a natural amphitheatre and it looks out directly at Mt. Shasta. It is owned by the "Pitheons." I have tried to find out something about them to no avail. Apparently they hold a yearly meeting up there. They have built an altar and bleachers all the way around. There is a natural spring in the corner, where the dogs drank. It really is a neat place. We headed out and rode up on top of the cave and back around with all the dogs in tow. The little Corgi, Benny, started to slow down and we were worried about him. So I climbed down and gave him to Laura. Billy the Kid just casually looked at him draped over his back. We started to head home. For being new under saddle, Billy was great in dealing with Benny on his back. Laura was very impressed and is going to use Billy with tourists in the future.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Maddy's Dad

So Mikael asked for some shots of Maddy's dad, Smoken Now.
His nickname is "Pokey." He really is a stunning boy. You would never know he is a stallion, he is so checked in and well-behaved. He is down the road from the Rockin Maddy Ranch, getting in some training. Ray is working cows with him and just putting some miles on him to get him back in shape. He is listed on Dreamhorse for a mere $65,000 if any of my horse friends are looking for a nice stud that always throws color. When my boyfriend Derek first saw a photo of him, he said "Wow, he is like a horse super-hero!" He loves attention and Laura encourages Ray to give him kisses, but so far the cowboy is sticking to his guns and just gives him scratches. He says he doesn't want to spoil him, but Laura, his owner, and I suspect he gives him hugs and kisses when no one is watching. They are quite a pair. It really was a treat to watch him and Ray work together, a solid foundation Quarter Horse with an eternal cowboy. "Pokey" babies are all over the ranch and they are all beautiful. Nice strong legs and beautiful heads. Of course I am partial:-)

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I left Thursday for sunny Yreka, California. When I bought Maddy last Fall, I agreed to come back and help the Rockin Maddy Ranch with a promotional video for their equine tourism business. They do all sorts of equine adventures, from trail and beach rides, to pony parties. It is beautiful country down here.
Imagine sweeping vistas of conglomerate rock all within sight of majestic Mt. Shasta. It is very dry and hot but we are managing to get the video shot.
and squeeze in some trail rides. I worked in the morning shooting Maddy's dad, Smoken Now He is currently in training and we spent some time watching him work. Afterwards, Ray the trainer and his wife Betty offered to make us breakfast and we sat around and talked horses. It was like life at my house growing up. My mom was always at the stove and dad and his friends would come in a drink coffee and talk horses. It is funny what takes you back. In the afternoon, it clouded up and actually stormed. There were some amazing lightning strikes and many lost power. The big concern down here is fire from the strikes. We saw two small fires on our drive home from town.
The storm fizzled and we decided to get a group together and hit the trails.It was a beautiful ride. I shot lots of video of the group for the promotional DVD. So I am down here for the weekend working hard and playing hard which seems to be the Maddy motto.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth everybody. I headed out early to the barn to beat the heat wave. 80 degrees by noon, yikes! The girls were all modelling their fly masks down in the pasture, so I had to get some pictures. The barn was busy today. We had lessons going on in the arena, a new boarder moving in, and horses getting their first "soapy" bath of the summer. Maddy was in a goofy mood today. She was very soft and silly. She just wanted scratches and treats. There were lots of people in the arena, so I decided to do all my work outside. We rode all over the property and she was going so well, we hit the trail. This was our first official ride out there. Previously, I had done lots of hikes with her on foot. I would mount and ride a bit once I was out there. It is a little scary for horses because the trails are completely enclosed by trees. Maddy grew up in the desert. Lots of wide open spaces, so this is a big change for her. She really did great. I picked a nice, lush spot to let her graze and then I would head out on the trail and after a time head back to her spot. She managed to walk all the way back without getting agitated and for most of the ride felt very relaxed. Her only spook was around the ducks. They decided to splash as we were going by and she did a little side step, nothing too serious. Really a great way to celebrate the fourth.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Advanced Level Two

I went to another Ann Kiser Clinic this weekend up in Ridgefield, Washington. I learned a lot about working with your horse at liberty. Liberty just means without a lead rope. I have gotten her to lunge and play the seven games at liberty, but she has drifted a few times and I haven't really known what to do except follow her. Ann gave us plenty of strategies. The one I thought was effective was if they drift, immediately ask them to yield their hindquarters and start walking away....amazingly, they follow.
But the coolest thing about the clinic....the Honeycomb. The clinic was at this place called Kozy Manor and the owner of the barn put in what she calls "the Honeycomb." It basically is four round pens enclosed in a big circle. You have so many cool options on the rail, around in circles, straight is very cool.
All the horses made great progress after working in it. These pictures are from the perimeter of the Honeycomb. I liked it so much, I am considering moving Maddy to this facility. I think it would be such a great tool for a young horse to navigate. Arenas just get boring, and this thing would constantly have her thinking.