Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Egg Hunt

So over at DIY Horsemanship, there is an easter contest running! You can easily enter by just commenting, but you get BONUS points and potentially an extra prize if you do an 'easter egg hunt' with your horses using homemade treats from a recipe by DIY Horsemanship.

That was my plan for today!

I used the Peppermint Horse Treats recipe. I made a few modifications since I couldn't find flax seed (it's probably in the deep freezer, honestly). I omitted the flax seed and horse feed. The horse feed was because I didn't want to run out to the barn to grab it and leave the kids unattended in the house. That's how things get destroyed.

I also really didn't measure exactly. I just eyed it. The recipe ended up being more of a guideline, hahaha.

I got distracted easily.

I picked these silicone muffin pans from the dollar general when I also grabbed easter regalia. $3 each!  Since I had some mixture leftover but not enough to fill my big silicone muffin tin, I also used my swedish horse small cake form and a dolphin cookie cutter.

I baked as directed for 45 minutes only to find when I pulled them out that someone had turned the temperature of the oven to OFF.  Gosh, I wonder who that could be (my bet is the 2 year old...)

Rechecking that the peppermints I had were not the easily melted kind, I bumped the temperature back up, stuffed the cookies full of peppermints, and threw everything back in for another 20 minutes+.

No regrets

It worked. Though I think it'd be really hard to screw this recipe up, honestly. So if you're scared of screwing up, don't be! I changed so much and it still all worked out and made treats that my animals were mad at me for leaving without giving them more.

Once those were made, and the tiny terror (2 year old) was down for a nap, we headed outside to 'hide' the 'easter eggs'

I took six, figuring three treats per animal since they were fairly large, would be sufficient.

I also made the decision that the zombie garden gnome would become a jump decoration

Paying VERY close attention.

After I decorated the animals with easter regalia Gwyn got mad and I had to entice her back into the arena.

Saffron wore the bunny ears

Their easter best, mud and all

Saffron figured out the game immediately.

So did Gwyn

She ended up knocking the treat off the standard and into the dirt

"Okay lady, where are the rest of them?"

"Hmmm, this isn't a treat..."


"The Tiny Human does not, I repeat, does not have treats at this time"

Kaylee wanted to speed things along so she ended up feeding Gwyn's third treat by hand. I had to seriously point out the second. Her smartness finding the first must have been a fluke, LOL

But then she had to investigate ALL the jumps to make sure she didn't miss any more.
"There was one here BEFORE!"

Monday, March 26, 2018

Night Ride

Not much media because it was night time, but I took advantage of Hazel falling asleep early (she didn't nap while I was gone yesterday) and escaped to the barn for solo chores.

From the morning. She heard me on the deck and is always VERY attentive to what I'm doing outside :)  It's my favorite part of having her in my backyard.

"Hi Mom! I see you! Do you have treats? Oh, you're going back inside? That's a shame..."

Now, Hazel didn't stay asleep but that wasn't my problem, have fun hubby! (They watched Blue Planet II)
Lit by the arena lights

I lunged her first and she was up but not out of control so again I kept it short and hopped on. I worked mostly on myself and being balanced.

I tried to ask for canter and she started snaking back and biting at her girth, both directions. This is infrequent but I did wonder if something was bothering her (for future reference, I used an old purple dover pad and maybe how the girth was laying on it was not comfortable? If it happens again I'll see if that's a common element) she's normally pretty unflappable.

So I pulled the saddle off and hopped back on bareback :D Aside from the shedding horse hair poking through my pants, it was a nice ride. We did about a mile in the arena, working out to 30 minutes of mostly walking but LOTS of transitions and geometry. I wanted myself to be really responsive with contact.

I had treats in my pocket, along with a clicker. Peppermints and ginger snaps. Gwyn now expects a treat every time I say good girl. I've probably said it often enough she associates it more with a treat than the click. On a more positive note, now that I'm carrying pocket treats, she's not walking off with me after I mount up on her.

I want to start clicker training Saffron and the ginger snaps and peppermint candies seem to be the trick. The storebought horse treats weren't interesting to her but she willingly left her alfalfa to get more ginger snaps from me last night. I do need to desensitize her to the click as she flinches a lot if I use it. Poor thing :( What did humans do to you?

Silly donkey did try and eat my saddle while it was hanging out on the gate. She is a curious and nosy thing! I never expected to love her as much as I do.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ick, Thrush

It was farrier day today and Gwyn's cracks in her hooves look pretty good. They haven't gotten worse, so that makes me feel better. I do need to come up with a good solution for our ride in April though, because I would like to avoid putting shoes on and I have no idea when my Megasus Runners will actually arrive. They're supposed to start shipments in a couple days but they're coming from Austria... and I have no idea where I am in the order of things.

I wanted to order a fit kit from scoot boots but that's sold out from the USA side dealer. I'm going to be sending pictures of Gwyn's feet to Renegade because they'll evaluate from pictures and measurements. I have before a trim and I'll grab just after a trim to have a good range. I need to do that tomorrow.

Being good for the Farrier

The farrier also said that Saffron had thrush. So it was off to the feed store to grab stuff for her and begin treatment for that. I need to remind myself that she really is quite docile and not nearly as frightened of me as when I first got her. She's never been anything but polite for the farrier so there's no reason why I can't pick her feet out. Especially now that Arwen is gone she's been practically a kid's pony on level of calmness and chill. I think I still just don't fully trust her. I'm worried I'll do something that will trigger some incidence of abuse.

On the subject of kids ponies though, I've decided to see where we can get with Saffron becoming a riding donkey. She's big enough for the girls to ride and small enough that Kaylee won't be intimidated. Hazel LOVES Saffron and will walk right up to her and give her hugs.
She does not put a tiny hoof out of place with that kid and is more trusting of her than me.

I started today with some hopeful treat motivation. Saffron is unimpressed. She is not nearly as food motivated as Gwyn. It's either that or I haven't found the right treat. I need to get more gingersnaps, as I am told those are a donkey's weakness.

"Not gonna move, Lady. No matter how many delicious things you stuff in my face."

I tried a pony bridle I had lying around. WAY too big. Same for a 5" snaffle. Way too big. She needs something smaller and a 4" bit for sure. I found a mule bridle that has a snap around the crown piece to make it easier on the bigger ears and I like that in theory, but I also kind of want to try bitless with this one, especially if the kids are on board. I don't want them yanking her mouth around when I'm pretty sure the first time she's ever had a bit in was today.

So Saffron needs new gear. I do want to get her a biothane halter. Her leadrope is newer so that's fine but her current halter is the one she came with and it really just doesn't fit her correctly. I'll probably be making a Two Horse Tack order here shortly as stuff is adding up and I can combine it all onto one shipping charge.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Ride in the Sun: 1 mile

For just the briefest of moments this weekend, we had warm(er) weather and it was sunny and clear Saturday and Sunday AND I didn't have to go into work. The stars were aligned, y'all. 

It was a dead horse kind of day. Pink is Gwyn, flat out, and purple but blending in is Saffron, also down but not totally out.

"Mom, you have treats, right?"

Since shedding season has FINALLY begun (yay spring!) I took my time grooming Gwyn. In anticipation of ramping up some work with her, I also gave her the tracest of clips. My first time ever. No judging. This is where she sweats the most so it should help, especially at our endurance ride in April. I might do more for her in April depending on how much of her coat she's blown out.

After tacking up we took to the still sn*wy and wet arena for a 'what is your energy level like today' lunge.

Pokey pony was pokey. I didn't even bother lunging the other side. I could barely get her to trot without a lunge whip. She was of the "ewwww mom, my feet are splashing cold sand on my belly" opinion and just didn't wanna.

I figured that was a good mindset to have for a toodling kind of ride.

"Please can we be done?"

So I hopped on and we did lots of walking work with bending and walk halt transitions and some trotting but really the arena needed one more day of sun before I felt comfortable doing a lot of trot work in it. I need to go through and salt and drag it before the plants take hold.

I did set this up. We walked over it. Gwyn did not touch the poles. That's pretty big. She's usually very lazy with her feet.

We also did the first exercise from the Jumping Exercises book. I did a few extra stuff using this basic set up like a clover leaf pattern with smaller 10m circles. 

So sunny!

Parked out, for her.  Gwyn, you are not a Morgan or Saddlebred. 

I think she was happy for the attention though. Now that she's shedding I'll be making sure to groom pretty much every day so we can keep the itchies at bay. Saffron won't shed for a while but will suddenly be sleek in July. That donkey is enigmatic. I also pulled blankets from them since the weather seems to be on the up and up with no precipitation forecast for a week.

It'll mean less clean horses but they'll be fine, the woolly beasts.

We got about a mile of work in 30 minutes. So we weren't particularly marching. But it was a rejuvenating, warm ride.