Monday, June 3, 2013

New blog....

Due to issues with my old email address it became tedious to sign in & out of this blog so I've streamlined things & started a new one. If you want to follow check it out here.......

This will be the last post here. Thanks for following!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Enjoying Fall!

I'm not sure if it's official yet but we've been loving the slightly cooler more fall like weather recently. We've completed an addition to our barn in the form of a very large run-in for the horses in the pasture around the barn to enjoy. At present the mares have access to this as Miles enjoys the larger & grassier pasture in the back. They thank us for building it by spending time under it several times a day. It's going to be particularly nice for me later this fall when it gets rainy meaning really good shelter for them & less barn clean-up for me!

Miles continues life as a retired man! The quintessential Thoroughbred, he is a hard keeper & can be hard to keep weight on during the winter months. So trying to get as much weight on him as possible... not much is possible but I try none the less. Zorra has continued her ground work in prep for riding next spring. She's very relaxed & seems to enjoy any attention. I'm pleased with her movement. She's extremely rhythmic in her gaits showing really good balance & athleticism. She does a lot but our main focus has been a few trot-canter transitions. She likes to play but does well with her short, fun sessions. Foxy has a friend who comes out every week or so to learn about riding from her. Kisia is gorgeous in pregnancy & not so sure about the changes in her body. Valencia now seems to be fully integrated into the herd of mares & gaining health after a rough transition to our hot, buggy climate from California. She's wonderfully friendly with a natural elegance & posture that must be seen to appreciate. She walks around as if she's on stage. I believe she's grown a couple of inches since arriving & is easily our tallest mare with Zorra just behind her in height. Kisia is the smallest but stands out with the biggest personality & extreme beauty seen in the picture posted here. Very much looking forward to her 1st foal next spring. Would love to see Kisia's beautiful face on that baby. Should be a beauty & a mover! Will certainly be plenty adored.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Normal to Natural

For those outside the horse world, it can sound like people with horses speak their own language with terms & sayings that mean little to others. Even within the horse world, different disciplines have their own lingo. If you follow natural horsemanship methods, you often hear the word "normal" used in contrast to the way those who consider themselves "natural" do things. For me, it's not negative, just different & a choice in how the horse is handled. I like the natural way & believe my horses do too.

I've recently acquired a new mare. Valencia is a two year old PRE (Spanish Andalusian) filly. She's been handled in a more normal or traditional way. The contrast between her & Zorra (my home bred two year old Andalusian cross) is clear & fascinating. My spring project is to get her to behave like a partner in all we do! Things that stand out are: she likes to be very close to you when leading, right at the shoulder, she has difficulty standing still for grooming & especially having her feet handled, pushes into pressure & has little respect for my personal space. When worried she'll constantly push into my space & spooks in my direction. She is very gentle, kind & smart without a mean bone in her body. She's trusting (excluding the feet) & loves people. So we've been spending time leading using the "swing the end of the lead rope" as we walk so she stays out my space & isn't constantly able to push into that halter which, by the way, is physically exhausting to my shoulder & arm! She's learned this super fast & seems to be way more relaxed leading. Valencia is very big. At two years old she's already 16 hands. I'm not a big person. Not only am I not able but I've no desire to man-handle any horse. While grooming she's been quite fidgety. I just stay patient & ask her to come back & stand here please. She got this very quickly & doesn't mind standing still. That is until I ask for a foot! So lots of friendly with her legs, which she firmly plants on the ground at the mere idea of picking them up. It takes a good deal of time, but she's allowed me to pick up each foot & is putting them down more softly. Just takes lots of massage & patiently waiting for her to get tired of me asking to get each foot. It's much like it was teaching this to baby Kisia & Zorra, but with a much bigger & stronger horse. So far once she understands & trusts my intentions, Valencia is more that willing to comply. Not sure yet, but still thinking she might be RBI (right brained introvert horsenality) which is so cool! Kisia & Zorra are both LBE (left brained extrovert). Having one that is opposite their horsenality but also my own personality type (RBI) will be a nice contrast to them & provide much learning.

I call myself lucky to have the opportunity to spend time with this new & fabulous mare. Valencia is a type that breeders don't often part with. She'll eventually be a foundation broodmare for our budding program. But for a few more years, I'll enjoy developing a partnership with her & learning more as a lifetime student of the horse.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spring Update

Spring arrived early in Mississippi this year & looks like summer has too. Kisia is now comfirmed in foal to the fabulous black PRE stallion Klickitat. Klickitat was bred by Jackass Mountain Ranch, who are known for producing some of the best PRE horses in this country. He has an incredible resume that includes National Championship titles in conformation & movement & is presently competing at 4th level in dressage under his owner/trainer at Villa Rosa Dressage. He's wonderfully complimentary to Kisia. We're anticipating a super nice foal out of those two.

We've also aquired our 2nd foundation PRE mare who arrived a few weeks ago. She's pictured here with our niece, Maddie. Valencia ADP is a big, striking, two year bay mare who I've been trying to get my hands on for a while now. Her breeder at Andalusian Dressage Partners is wonderful & has been quite gracious to help make getting this filly a reality.

Valencia has had a little trouble settling in in the form of an allergic reaction to our multitude of different species of biting insects. Our vet, Jennifer Dunlap, reports this isn't uncommon for a horse from a different type climate to experience their 1st summer here. Nothing extreme, but she has hives so will be a bit before we get more pics of her. She's being treated with meds, supplements & limited exposure. We're slowly integrating her into our little mare herd. She spent a couple of weeks getting to know the others by sharing a fence-line. Now she is with our other two year old filly, Zorra, for a few weeks before they go in with the other big mares. They seem to be getting on pretty well. Valencia is gentle & non-confrontational. Zorra is more confidant but not physically confrontational either so just some face making & moving around a bit before they settled.

My "dream" for sometime has been to have two foundation PRE mares of quite particular types. It's taken years to find & aquire each of them but so cool to be in this place. They are both inscribed in the Spanish Studbook. Next year when Valencia turns three, we'll pursue getting the next step accomplished for both, revision. So exciting times with an up & coming foal, a new mare & my personal indulgence, Zorra, being more fun than should be legal who will be ready to ride next Winter/Spring.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New video!

Randy & I recently attended this year's Parelli tour, "Horse & Soul" at Conyers, GA. We were only there for the 1st day. The video here was created by Randy to submit for their social media contest. A winner was chosen for best video & best photo. The winner would receive one of their new video courses. He certainly deserved to win in my not so humble opinion! Thanks to Randy for winning me the new Game of Contact course, which I've been thoroughly enjoying & hopefully Kisia will feel the same way soon!

Spring has arrived early here & we're taking full advantage of it! We recently completed a big fencing project to allow my Thoroughbred, Miles, a larger & grassier area to enjoy his retirement. This also means a smaller & less grassy area for the mares. This too is wonderful & may allow Kisia to spend more time with her friends this spring/summer rather than be relegated to the dry lot. My mares are all easy keepers with Kisia being an exceptionally easy keeper, so less is more for them when it comes to grass.

Kisia & I are playing with some of the concepts in Linda Parelli's Game of Contact. We also made a trip over to Cedar Winds for a lesson & came home with some more "Classical" training tips to add to our riding. Next month we will make the trip to our Repro vet to start watching for Kisia to be ready to breed. Hoping she'll prove easy to get in foal & handle the process with ease.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Winter Update

Horsey life has been quiet here this winter. While it's not been so cold this year, it's been rainy leaving things too muddy to do much with the horses. Late fall we made some improvements to the foundation of our riding arena & had sand placed. When things dry up enough this spring, the sand will be graded to about 2 inches deep, then will start looking into placing some fencing around the area for a real place to ride & play finally! The horses have lost access to our front pasture & pond for the next few years. We're unfortunately losing some land & lots of trees due to road construction. In anticipation of this, we've planted a little over 100 Pines, a hand full of Oaks & have some flowering trees coming to add to the mix. Will be re-routing our driveway & moving some plumbing soon then just wait till it's over & allow our new little forest to grow. Kisia (our 5 year old PRE) & Foxy (Randy's Tennessee Walker) have both slimmed down nicely this winter despite giving me the big starving horsey eyes every possible opportunity! I've ridden Fox a few times just walking out for a trail ride. Kisia has learned to put her head down for me to jump on then pop up so I can get on her bareback....not graceful but gets me up there! Zorra (our Andalusian cross filly), who is now our tallest mare, seems to have slowed down growing somewhat. I've taught her the Spanish Walk & spent some time in the barn getting her used to saddles & tack. She'll be two in April so we'll start some prep for riding. Miles, at almost 21, remains a challenge to keep weight on. Although, he's held what he had this winter so far. Always the quintessential Thoroughbred, he just can't be still for'd never know he has arthritis & growing melanomas. At this point my goal is to keep him happy & comfortable in retirement. I've chosen the PRE stallion Klickitat AK to breed Kisia to this spring. I've literally taken years to choose him & believe he's quite complimentary to Kisia. Hoping all is easy with her first attempts at breeding. To learn more about him, check out Picture above of our beautiful Kisia.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pics by Coco

Slideshow of photos taken while Kisia & I were in Ocala, FL attending the Flex-track course at the Parelli Center. The Parelli Center in Ocala is a magical place. I was lucky to get to attend one of the last courses held there as it is now for sale. I'm not always comfortable with pictures of myself which is why one typically only sees horse pics here. But, these are more about the relationship &, I think, Coco did a great job of capturing that on film.