Friday, August 21, 2009

Foxy Update

Wanted to do a quick update on Foxy, she is doing awesome. She's back up to normal weight, I am having to cut back on how much senior mush she gets as she doesnt even finish it all anymore, she walks away from it and goes to her hay. She's gotten quite chunky lately so cutting her back on the mush is probably a good idea anyway.

Tonite I am building a new pen for her that will be inside one of the pastures, and she'll have access to half of the large shelter. And she'll be able to touch noses with her buddies again and she wont have any hotwire near her. Which is a huge issue right now as she is losing some of her sight and seems to have trouble seeing the white tape fencing. Our fence is VERY hot and I hate the fact that she could easily bump into it. She did it once after we fixed the fence (it had a very low charge due to a corroded underground line) and she didnt know it was working better. It scared the bajeezus out of her. So I cant wait to put the new pen up, it'll be nothing but panels - no wire.

I've started taking her for short walks down the canal we used to ride on when we were 12 (we are the same age) and she seems to really enjoy it. The last time we rode on it was '97 I think, but she gets all perky and walks super fast and usually doesnt want to turn around and go home. I think she remembers the route we used to do and wants to do it again, lol. I'll have to get some pictures one of these times, she gets all Arab-y with her tail up and her neck arched. Its so cute. I also want to get a video of her at feeding time, she stands at the door into the barn and watches me prepare her mush, and she plays with the door while she waits. Its super funny. I'm going to be getting a lot of videos/pics of her from now on as I dont know how much longer she'll be around. I'm hoping she has years left but you never know. She's such a character it'll be nice to have vids to watch of her after shes gone.

So thats my update on The Fox. Should have some new photos as soon as this crazy weather passes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I'm sick of the heat!!!

Its been so stinkin hot here lately, the last week or so its been high 90's to low 100's. I'm ready for fall!!! I havent been able to do squat with the horses since my last post because of the heat. So I doubt I will be going riding with my dad when he goes, since I havent been able to work with anyone. And if I did take Luv or Fancy, they'd croak from the heat a mile up the trail. They are too out of shape to be riding in the hills on a hot day. So unless we get a break in the weather, I wont be doing any riding anytime soon.

Here are a few photos I took tonite.

Hank pic 1
Hank pic 2
Hank pic 3
Hank pic 4
Hank pic 5

Cowboy pic 1
Cowboy pic 2

Sparrow pic 1
Sparrow pic 2
Sparrow pic 3

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Off to a good start...

Tonite I had just planned on saddling up Luv to see what her reaction was, but she did so well that I decided to hop on. She was a little unsure about moving with me on her but after I got her to walk a few steps I called it good. It'll take her a few times to get used to moving with weight on her, tomorrow I plan on actually riding her around a bit if she does well enough.

Since I cut it short with her, I thought I'd play with the others a bit. Hank had been very curious of the saddle & blanket (I worked with Luv out in the pasture, and she's pastured with Hank & Fancy) so I haltered him up and held the blanket out for him to sniff. I could tell he was a bit worried, so I gently sat the blanket on his back. I took a few steps back myself when I saw the look in his eyes, and as soon as he tried to take a step he felt that blanket move and he did a few bunny hops, almost in place. It was pretty funny. He calmed down and I pulled the blanket off and put it back on several times until he seemed ok with it. Then I let him go and moved on to Fancy. She hasnt been ridden since her injury in 97 so I wasnt sure how she'd do either. She's so fat I could barely get the cinch around her, and I had to let the back cinch out a few holes. If she was any fatter I would have ran out of holes. She gave me a look like "you've GOT to be kidding me" when I cinched her up, but she didnt act up. So I hopped on. As soon as I was up there, looking down on the top of her neck, it brought back so many memories from back when I used to ride her all the time and it made me miss it.

I rode her around for a whopping 5 minutes and called it good. It was getting late and I still had to soak Foxys grain and get everyone fed.

So my dad and I are going trail riding this weekend... he's taking Billy and I've yet to decide who I'm going to take. Cowboy is out of the question, he's not ready, so it'll either be Fancy or Luv. Fancy would probably croak a mile up the trail she's so out of shape, so it'll probably be Luv. I got a lot of work to do in the next 5 days to make sure my ass doesnt get bucked off out on the trail! :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Update

I dont know if anyone even checks this, but incase anyone does, here is an update on the horses.
Cowboy is doing awesome, yesterday was his first day back under saddle and he did great. He never offered to buck even when I lunged him. I worked a little on putting my weight on the stirrups as he wasnt too sure about that at all, and ended on a good note and called it a day with him. I'm not sure how much training Max actually did with him... I'm guessing little to none as Cowboy acted like he'd never had weight in the saddle before. Or maybe its just because it's been so long... I dont know.

Sparrow is growing up and is starting to get tall, hes very butt high and very leggy right now. He's been super easy to work with, and he has a pretty laid back personality. I do have him for sale but I'm not in any hurry to get him sold. He's fun to have around.

Billy is my dads horse but I have started riding him to keep him tuned up since my dad doesnt get to ride often. I havent been in the saddle in a long time, and when I saddled him up yesterday and went to climb on I was pretty nervous. Billy has a tendancy to be a tard at times and I had never ridden him before, so I wasnt sure what was going to happen. As soon as I sat in the saddle though, most of my fears went away. We didnt do more than walk around the pasture but hey, its a start. I was riding him in a halter or I would have taken him down the canal for a quick ride. I'm told he rides really well out on the trails. It felt great to get back in the saddle and I'm looking forward to a lot more riding before the summers over.

Hank was pretty traumatized from his experience at the trainers, and it took him awhile to settle back into things. He's back to his normal self now and I'm hoping to start working with him under saddle soon. He got taller than I thought he would, he's gotta be 15 hands or at least close to it. I hope he turns out to be a good saddle horse, but if not he can just hang out and be a lifer.

My 30 year old mare Foxy has had a rough go of it lately. First she had to go in to get her teeth floated, and the vet said she has recently lost a couple molars which is most likely the cause of her sudden weight loss. A few days after that the vet was out to look at a lump on Fancy's neck and a growth on Luv's neck, and not 5 minutes after he left I noticed something wasnt right with Foxy. I walked out to her and tried to bring her in but she refused to move her left front leg. She would move the other three but as soon as she'd try to step forward with that one, she'd stop. I called the vets office and asked them to send the vet back and he showed back up within a few minutes. With some coaxing we got her out of the pasture and out onto the paved driveway so he could check her out. He had me walk her down the driveway and back (each step she took she winced, it was horrible), then he checked her hooves with the hoof tester, poked and prodded all over her... and he couldnt find anything wrong. Best guess is she either moved wrong and pulled something, or she's just body sore from being in with the other horses, maybe one of them had been picking on her. So I fenced off a section just for her so she doesnt have to worry about the other horses.
About a week after that the vet was back out to vaccinate everyone and while he was there Foxy choked on her senior feed. He sedated her and tubed her, and all that came out was mush - no hay. Kind of odd she choked on that feed, its pretty soft stuff. So now she gets her senior feed soaked into a mush before she gets it.
Vet said other than the few minor things we've had to deal with, she's in good health for her age.

Luv is going to be under saddle pretty soon so we can use her on the trails. She hasnt been ridden in years and I've been nominated to be the first one on her... this outta be interesting. I plan on doing LOTS of ground work before I climb up there. I'm not really worried about her bucking - because I dont think she'd do more than crowhop - its the steering & brakes I'm worried about. If I have time tomorrow after I work with Cowboy & ride Billy, I will saddle her up and see what she does.

Fancy is 19 this year, and she's starting to show her age. Her face is still droopy from the nerve damage that happened in 06, but its still a lot better than it was. She's starting to get a little sway backed, and she could probably lose a few pounds. Ive thought about riding her as well, but I figure I'll just let her enjoy her retirement, I've got plenty of others to work with.

More photos of the horses:

Cowboy pic 1

Cowboy pic 2

Cowboy pic 3

Cowboy pic 4

Cowboy pic 5

Sparrow pic 1

Sparrow pic 2

Sparrow pic 3

Sparrow pic 4

Hank pic 1

Hank pic 2

Hank pic 3

Hank pic 4

Sunday, April 19, 2009

For Once, I Can Thank A Kill Buyer...

I got a call today from a friend of mine in Thorp, she's at a barrel race today and met a lady who has a horse I used to own named Gone And Got Cash. "Cash" was one of the 3 broodmares I purchased winter of 2001, and she came up on a truck with the other two. Cash was clear down in southern Texas, Butterfly was in north Texas, and Mouse was in Colorado. I was stoked when the 3 of them arrived. Cash however turned out to be a lot different than she was advertised, and I didnt really get along with her that well. She was pregnant when I bought her, and popped out a really, really ugly appendix colt (pictured above in one of his cute phases). He would have been a nice colt if it wasnt for his spider legs that went every direction but the way they were supposed to.

Anyway, long story short, sold the colt to a family member and traded the mare to a gal I knew in Oregon who wanted her as a broodmare for her very nice buckskin AQHA stallion Shammy.

The last time I saw Cash, she had a cute little buckskin filly at her side and was enjoying life out on a pasture with grass as tall as her legs.

Sadly, the gal who owned them died a few years ago, and the 50-somethin horses were left to her daughter. I always wondered what had happened to them. Now I think I know.

Somehow, Cash wound up in the care of Oly Olson, who is known for buying horses for slaughter. She was emaciated and in horrible condition. A guy that knows Oly pretty well was looking at the horses in the kill pen and asked about the very skinny chestnut mare. Oly said "yeah, she's got some really nice bloodlines, but look at her now". I'm told it didnt look like she would have survived another couple days in the kill pen, and probably wouldnt have made it to slaughter. The guy felt bad for the mare, and Oly sold her to him (thank you Oly!!).

Its sad that a mare as nice as Cash, with names like Go Man Go and Dash For Cash right on her papers, could wind up in a kill pen destined for slaughter. Its the worst feeling to know that a horse you used to own just narrowly escaped that fate. I am very glad Oly gave her a chance, and I thank her new owners for giving her a very wonderful home. Cash is now back to her normal self and is enjoying life as a barrel horse, and doing well.

Her new owner has my contact information now, and I cant wait to chat with her about how Cash is doing, and I'm hoping we can trade some photos of her. I cant wait to see how she looks, and I'm sure she'd love to see some photos from her past. I know i'll be hearing from her as she is curious to know more about Cash's background.

Someone was watching out for that mare that day. She was on deaths doorstep, yet an angel showed up to save her.

I just cant help but wonder what happened to the rest of the horses. If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Mystical Moonshine (96 black splash overo stallion), Dun N Cute (93 red dun AQHA mare), JB Buckleys Shammy (buckskin stallion), or any other horses that were once owned by Sherrie Smiley, I would love to hear an update about them. I just want to know that none of her other horses wound up in a kill pen.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Lesson Learned

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cowboy and Hank went to a trainer last summer to be trained to ride. I really wish I had done more research on the trainer I sent them to, it might have saved me some heartache. (Cowboys left front pictured above, will get much better hoof photos tomorrow).

I should have known right away that things werent going to turn out well. The first 2-4 weeks they were there they were not worked (he did discount me for that month, I will give him that). And when he did finally start to work them, I was promised photos and videos of them under saddle since they are too far away to take a drive over to check on. Several times I called and he said he had a video he was going to send out. Never got one.

During the entire time the horses were there, the trainer NEVER called me to update on the horses. If I wanted an update, I had to call. That really frustrated me.

Then to find out he was having issues with Hank, and he chalked it up to him being too immature and gave up on him (when in reality, Hank was probably just too smart for him and was able to out think him).

On Labor Day weekend the trainer was supposed to have a sale, and the original plan was he was to put Hank in the sale. A few weeks before the sale I changed my mind about that and tried to call the trainer to let him know. Over the next few weeks I left messages on his cell phone and even sent emails to the ranch trying to get ahold of SOMEONE so I could let them know not to put Hank in the sale. Pretty soon trainers cell phone voice mail box was full and I couldnt leave anymore messages. I had no idea what was going on.

(Cowboy, pictured left, click for larger version)
It wasnt until OCTOBER that I was able to get ahold of him. He did put Hank in the sale but thankfully no one bought him. Board/training costs were paid up at that time. Winter hit and I ran into some major problems at home and wound up living in my car/hotels when I could afford it for a month and a half. When I finally got back on my feet I called the trainer fully expecting he would have sold the horses to pay back board owed. I was stoked to find out he still had them. I explained my situation to him, apologized for not getting in contact sooner, and asked him how much I owed expecting it to be a lot. He told me to pay $1000 to cover board and we'd call it good. I sent him the check. He said he had to come to this side to pick up a horse for training and he'd bring my horses over to me that weekend, I told him thanks and said I'd give him a couple hundred for fuel when he brought them over. Weekend came and went, no trainer. Called and he said as soon as the pass was clear he'd haul them over.

Every weekend I'd wake up in the morning hoping that was the day the horses would show up, but each weekend I was disapointed. My truck is not set up to haul a trailer yet or I would have gone and gotten them myself.

Last Saturday (the 11th) I woke up to a message on my phone from the trainer. I was immediatly excited because I knew it probably meant the horses were on the way. I called in to check the voice mail, and had to listen to the message twice as the first time I was too shocked and thought I'd heard it wrong. He said he was bringing the horses over but he was dropping them at some guys house in Ellensburg and I had to get them from there. He left the first name of the person and a cell phone number and told me to call that person and coordinate pick up. I called, no one answered so I left a message.

After a brief freak-out, I called my dad and told him what was going on. He told me to call the trainer back and tell him if my horses were indeed dropped off in Ellensburg that they would be called in stolen and we would press charges. I told the trainer that, and he came back with "bring it on". He said he'd use the training contract I had signed last summer to get more money out of me, even though the training stopped last fall. After several bad phone calls back and forth to the trainer I was getting nowhere.

Later that day I recieve a phone call back from the guy in Ellensburg. I asked if my horses were there, he said no he thought they were on their way to Wenatchee. My friend and I hop in the car and go flying up to my barn to see if the horses are there. They are not.

Finally get ahold of the trainer and find out that he hauled them an hour and a half north of Wenatchee to some ranch way the fuck out in the boonies and left them with some people there. He gave us the phone number, and we called them. We asked a simple question: "How do the horses look? Are they ok?" We asked if we could come get the horses that evening but they said it was getting too late and it would be dark by the time we got there. Asked if we could come Sunday but they said no since it was Easter and his wife didnt want anyone coming over to get horses. I was pissed but had no choice but to wait until Monday. Not 5 minutes after we hung up with the guy, the trainer calls us back completely pissed off that we asked how the horses were doing. He said when we pick them up on Monday that it has to be "no questions asked" and he "just wants to be rid of everything". That made me worry.

Sunday night around 9pm I get a phone call from the trainer saying I need to call the property owner where my horses are first thing Monday to line up a time to pick up the horses. Again, he says it has to be "no questions asked" and said the horses are fine. Monday comes around, I'm out with the flu so my dad offers to go pick up the horses for me. He headed out about 4pm, had to wait for the people to get home from work. About 7pm he was back with the horses and I met him at the barn. At first it didnt seem like anything was wrong with them, but it was getting dark, I was sick and freezing cold and just wanted to get back home so I could lay down. I would check them out in the morning.

So, that next morning when I head up there to feed, I really checked them over. Both horses are COVERED in bite marks, so its obvious they were turned out with some horses that bullied them. Their feet havent been done in at least 6 months by the looks of them. Cowboys feet are the worst, they are very long and dont even look like normal hooves anymore. Hanks arent as bad, but his are more brittle and break off easier. Cowboy has extremely hard feet and his dont break off well. He is also thin. Not OMG thin, but thin indeed. Hank too, but not as bad. Now we know why he said "no questions asked".

I'm not even sure either of them actually recieved any training while they were there.

Trainer told me sometime that weekend (think it was Sunday, but not sure) that I owed him more money, so I asked him why did he only tell me $1000 was all I owed if I owed him more. His answer? He said he never told me that. My roomies and my best friend were around me when I had that phone call with him and they will verify that he told me $1000 was all I owed. He even said he could use the contract to come after me to get more money if he had to. We think he regrets telling me only $1000 and wished he had asked for more. Which is why he decided to be an asshole in the end and hide my horses from me for 3 days. I didnt even know their exact location until Monday.

(Hank, pictured left)
Bottom line, I have learned my lesson. I will NEVER send my horses so far away that I cant run over and check on them whenever I want. And I will research the hell out of any trainer I send a horse to. This trainer moved here from Montana, I'm almost wondering if there is a reason why... bad rep in Montana? Too many horse owners pissed off at him? Maybe he even got banned from competing over there, I dont know. It would not surprise me if the reason was something like that.

I will not say who he is on here, nor will I say what ranch he works at (they have a website) but I will tell every horse person I know IN PERSON who he is and what he did. All I will say is if anyone is sending a horse to a trainer in Sequim... choose wisely.
One thing I forgot to throw in there, a couple months ago the trainer DID finally call me for once, but only to ask if I would price out the horses as he had someone who wanted to buy them. I told him I wasnt ready to sell and I sure as hell wasnt going to price them when I hadnt even seen them in over half a year. He got pissy with me and tried to pressure me into selling them, saying he was going to give my number to the interested person so they could try to talk me into it. The more he pushed the more I refused to sell either of them and the more upset he got. I think now I know why. Same reason he didnt want to deal with me face to face and had to take the chicken shit route and drop my horses off at some other place and tell me "no questions asked." He may be a so-called "professional" trainer... but there is NOTHING professional about the way he treats his clients... or the horses for that matter. The fact that I was paying $900 a month PER HORSE for training, and he couldnt follow through with his promises of sending photos or videos, should have sent up MAJOR red flags. I will not be surprised if neither of the horses know what to do under saddle.
Some people might say this is my karma, I deserve it for things that have happened in the past. Maybe that is so, but do the horses have to suffer because of it? They werent dewormed, their feet werent taken care of, and they basically look like shit. Manes & tails were knotted, they havent even been groomed in God knows how long. Their coats are NOT soft to the touch and are dull. Cowboy only looks shiny as he has show sheen on him, his mane and tail had some pretty wicked knots that needed worked out. I still have to do Hank tail, but his mane doesnt need it.
I will bring them out on the pavement tomorrow and get better pictures of their hooves. Hanks arent long but each hoof is a different length, he is uneven. Farrier will be out next week to trim and I will post the after shots too. I am very worried about Cowboys club foot (left front), it is much, much worse than its ever been because they havent been done in so long. I am furious.
For those still checking here hoping I will post my side of the story (everything that happened in Ephrata), I dont know if I ever will. Writing it up was much harder than I thought it would be and I just cant do it. Its difficult trying to explain what happened as I dont fully understand WHY everything happened. It was a very dark time in my life that I very much want to move past. I will never forget, but I have to move on and focus on the future. I see a therapist on a regular basis, have been on medication since late last summer and I am back to enjoying life. Now that spring is here I am out with the horses a lot more, plan on getting Luv going under saddle as well as Cowboy and Hank, so I can go riding with my dad in the mountains this year. I miss doing that. I am debating selling Sparrow, but either way that little brat is losing his jewels. Still waiting for the Ephrata place to close, but as soon as it does I will be buying another place where I can have my horses at home again.
I am going to try to keep this blog updated for those who want to keep tabs on whats going on. I am hoping it will be good motivation to keep me out there working with the horses and actually RIDING for a change. I havent gone on a ride since I moved away from Cashmere - 2006. I plan on logging a lot of miles on Luv and Cowboy this year, and plan on getting tons of photos as well.
Here are some links to current photos of the horses. Farrier will be out next week to trim everyone.
Foxy (forgot to get one of her, will have tomorrow)
Hank pic 1 - feet

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Horses: Cowboy & Hank

Instant Three
2004 APHA solid bay gelding
Sire: Instant King
Dam: Mitys Sugar Fancy


Double Barred Hank
2004 AQHA chestnut gelding
Sire: Instant King
Dam: Gk Double Badger Bar

Cowboy & Hank have been best buds since they first met as foals. They are five years old this year and both have been started under saddle. They spent 8 months at the trainers (the last 5 just being boarded) and are coming home in two weeks. I am stoked! I havent seen them since they left, and it hasnt really sunk in that they are finally coming home. Now I have to find a place to board them as I don't have room where my other horses are.

I dont have any recent photos of the boys so I will wait until they get home so I can get some. I cant wait to have them home again! Here are a couple foal photos of them: