Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The good and the bad....

Soo...we are on day 4 of our house sitting adventure. It's going really well. We're working out a routine: feeding 14 equines in less than half an hour.  :)

But, I've got to catch up on some stuff. First the good stuff:

Last Saturday, I went to the horse show at Grubville. Kat and Mrs. B were there, showing the TWH's. When I got there, they said that the horses had been acting weird all morning. Scarlet was crazy when they rode her, but great on the ground, and Pistol was crazy on the ground, but great when they rode her. So they decided to just show Pistol in riding classes, and Scarlet in halter classes. That changed though.

Pistol was tied on one side of the trailer. When we tried to oil her hooves, she bucked at us. Mrs. B has warned us about that though, so we reprimanded the action and moved on. The trailer next to us had two paints that were quietly standing there. The lady had parked a little close, but it wasn't too dangerous. The lady that owned the paints walked over. Kat, Mrs B., and I were on the opposite side of the trailer. All of a sudden, we heard this sickening thud. Kat and I ran around the front of the truck, and Mrs. B went around the back. Pistol had kicked the lady and knocked her down. Mrs B asked if she was okay, and the lady was -not- happy. She was like: "I'll think about it" And she walked away. And there was nothing we could do! And it turns out, the lady was on of the judges!! So we were on pins and needles for two hours. We moved Pistol to the other side of the trailer, and put Scarlet on the side with the paints. Pistol was so mean the rest of the day! She would look at me with those gorgeous LBE eyes and beg me to come over...and as soon as I did, the ears were pinned back and she would try to nip.

But...the lady came back a little later, and said that she was okay. She said she just needed some time to pull it back together. Which I totally understand! She was knocked down., for crying out loud! But yeah, she stood and talked to us for a bit, and all was good.

So, this is how this is good news:

Mrs B was asking me and Kat if we thought this behavior could be changed. We said that it certainly could.....and later, Mrs B and I were talking again, and I said that if she wanted to Kate and I could work with Pistol on the ground. And Mrs B said that would be wonderful! She was totally in! So, Kate and I get to do Parelli with Pistol!!! I can't wait! :D

Now, for the bad news:

The day after the horse show, Sunday, I got a call from Mrs. Wilson at 12:30. She said that Empire was down, and they couldn't get him up. Kate, Daddy, and I all went over to help. We spent a good hour and a half doing everything we could to get him up. We pushed hay bales to his back, had cable straps around him...he was just too exhausted. We got a tarp out and made a shade shelter for him, got a blanket t put under his head, sprayed him down with the hose every little bit, put a fan on him...anything to keep him cool- the temperature by that time was already in the 90's.
Apparently, he had layed/fallen down, and gotten caught in the fence. The Wilson's found him at about 11 o'clock. Animal Rescue got there at about 1:45, and it was amazing to watch them work. There were about 8 or 9 of them, with huge trucks, trailers, and great equipment. They ended up having to roll Empire onto a skiff, and hook it to a Polaris and drag him out from behind the barn to an a frame that they set up. There, they hooked him up, and hoisted him into a standing position. We sprayed him down, rubbed him...tried to get circulation back into his legs. We gave him later and some carrots....but he wouldn't stand by himself. We would lay him down to rest for a few minutes, and then hoist him back up to try and get him to stand. The vet arrived, and got a 5 liter bag of iv fluids into him. We tried to get him to stand several ,more times. It didn't work though. It started looking worse and worse....I noticed that everyone started getting quiet, because we all knew what was coming.

Finally, Mrs Wilson gave the word, and the vet put him t sleep. Old Empire, who was 30+ years old, died right there in the Wilson's driveway, at 3:30 on the dot. Right in front of me.

Empire belongs to Tina S., who is some sort of horse rescue person I believe. She's just recently had to move to Rolla, because some power plant was dumping chemicals onto her property that was making her and her animals extremely sick. Many of her animals have died, and she's got all of this sick horses that she's had to move to Rolla. I'm pretty sure Mrs. Wilson cut off Empire's leg to send to a university to get it tested.

Daddy had gone home earlier, because the poor man was leaving for Washington DC the next day, and had to pack up. But he drove the tractor over and started digging a hole. The ground is so dry right now, that it took him and Mr Wilson until 8:00 at night to dig the hole and get Empire covered up. I know the Wilson's were grateful too, because the poor people had to leave for New Zealand the next day!!

I'm trying to remember any more details...I don't wanna forget that day. It was the first time I've seen any animal as big as that die, and the first time I've ever seen anything be put down. June came over while we were trying to get Empire to stand. She couldn't help, but she could do her pray/meditate/telepathy thing. I'm still not sure exactly what it is that she does. And we also think that Empire just had this coming to him. He had fallen down onto his knees three days before for apparently no reason. For whatever reason he just went down...and he couldn't get back up and he just didn't have the will to live anymore.

Moonie and Express (who also belong to Tina and have been exposed to the same crap) are doing okay. Actually, Express, despite being blind as a bat, does extraordinarily well. Moonie has all of the same symptoms that Empire had before he died, but Moonie's still got the will. He's a smart little bugger! Ms. Tina (I've talked to her on the phone several times now) is coming up tomorrow and is bringing some special stuff that she thinks will help the two of them get better.

Okay...I think I'm  mostly caught up, as far as that business goes. Kate and I are planning on doing some riding at one point this week, if things ever slow down. Today is the first day I have had to sit down for more than half an hour at a time- no joke. But yeah, I'm definitely going to ride Tulsa, and Emmi, and maybe Mandy.

But right now, I've got to get out there and feed! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tennessee Walking Horses!


We got to try riding a Tennessee Walking Horse! One of the 4-H parents (Mrs. B) has two that she shows. Kat and Casey have been riding them for a while, but she'd like more people to ride them, so she invited us!

She has two TWH's, Scarlet (Addicted To Johnny), and Pistol (Escape The Fate). Scarlet is the more advanced horse that Kat has shown before, and Pistol is Scarlet's half sister. She's 4 years old, and she's a Left-brained Extrovert (became introverted when I got on her). Mrs. B said that both mares were out of a fairly famous stud...but I can't for the life of me remember what his name was. Started with a C....

We got to ride Pistol. Mrs. B had Kat demonstrate the three basic gaits for us, and then I hopped on. The three gaits that we learned about are:
-Dog walk (natural walk)
-Flat walk (a step up, two beats, I think)
-Running walk (a step up from the flat walk, three beats)

The trick was realizing that on TW's, the rider is not really judged. So a lot of TW riders slump, slouch, crunch up, pull their arms in, look really ugly, etc. I couldn't get the Flat walk until I brought my shoulders forward and pulled Pistol's nose in, and brought my hands down to her shoulders. After I got that, it was easy.

I was in a western saddle, and the lovely squeakiness of it told me the difference between the flat and running walks. When I was doing a flat walk, the saddle would squeak twice, and when I was doing a running walk, it would squeak three times. The ride was so smooth! And after I got her into the right gait, I could sit a little taller, so it looked a little nicer. I still had to keep my hands really low though, which kept my shoulders forward. Still, that's how these horses are trained.

Anyway, I really enjoyed it. It was different, but it was new and fun, and it was easy for me, since I'm used to riding a horse that you had to be very firm with when riding (my lovely Buster!!). Kate had some trouble at first, because she's used to riding very sensitive horses. She kept on asking, and never telling after she had asked. But she got it eventually. It also may have had to do with the fact that Pistol was getting hot and tired.

After we rode, we got to park the horses out. Scarlet is really good at it, and Pistol not as much. But we did get her to do a little bit of a park before we put her away.

Kate and I are hoping that we'll get to teach Pistol some ground manners- because frankly, she has none! She's a Sterling! Mrs. B seemed open to new ideas, but we didn't ask her if we could do Parelli ground work specifically. I know it would do wonders though, and if Mrs. B could see Sterling being worked, I know she would say yes. So, maybe over time, we'll get to do some Parelli with her. :)

Mrs. B said that she would love us to back and ride more, so we're going to schedule another day.

As far as possibly getting Tulsa goes...we've started school. I don't have a crazy amount scheduled, which is good. All this week, I've been doing this GED orientation class at the college, and for the next two weeks, Kate and I will be house sitting for the Wilson's while they're in New Zealand. So it will be a while before anything happens.