Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh Dear, Poor Pony

So Brantley is coming home tomorrow from Cherry Croft, vet is coming the Thursday after Christmas. It never ends, but as horse people, we know this and this is what is expected. But we do it anyway.

Even with all the progress that he's made in the last week, I received a message about him being back sore. They don't want to hang out to him or keep working him (which I totally agree with) until they know whether it's just unused sore muscles or there's something wrong. The owner, Cindy, she went over his back with me and showed me how he reacted to pressure and he was really sore and twitchy. I talked to her about it because I've never seen him like that before and even when I first brought him he wasn't like that which she agreed. That's why they think that it's just a muscle soreness. He's spent so much time being tense and holding himself so tightly together. Now he's starting to relax and use his body differently.

I don't want to jump to conclusions. I'm having the vet come out and do any overall exam before I start throwing money into x-rays and ultrasounds. That was actually the vet's recommendation and that's why I love her. We're going to do a head-to-toe exam and check for soundness. The week back home will give him a break so if the vet comes and his back isn't sore - we'll know that it's probably muscle related vs. things like "kissing spine".

We'll start there and then see where it goes - Cindy and I also talked about him being over-stimulated and really needs some time just to be a horse and run with a herd. I completely agree - It's the same thing I tell people who purchase racehorses off the track. I've seen both sides, horses right off and horses who have had some time to stop and relax and get their brain back (like Lucky) and there's a huge difference. Yes, horses are natural born athletes but like people, you need a mental break once in a while! So come February, the plan is maybe bringing him to Cherry Croft for a couple of months. That gives me January to build up some cash with the new job. Then back to work... Now I just need a pony to ride.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Don't Know What To Say

Things with Brantley have been going well from what I know. I haven't been able to be there to watch and learn because of work, but yesterday, it was the last thing on my mind.

I know that a lot of people have been talking about this and everyone is hurting, but I needed to mention it. Yesterday was a disaster of a day. There are no words to describe. Yes, things like this have happened, but not only was it children, but it was so close to home... I went to my mother's and looked at my two younger brothers (14 + 16) and burst into tears. I just can't believe it... So many people were lucky to tuck their children in last night, and so many did not. My heart goes out to them...


I missed the last couple days but my friend Deb took some pictures on her phone and video of today. Both days Ben got a saddle on him and worked on jumping up on his back again... Here's some video. Maybe I'll be able to catch him tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day Two at Cherry Croft

No pictures of today but definitely headed towards success. Showed up after work, got attacked by dogs, love it. Mr. B was out in the outdoor snorting and flicking up his tail at the pigs in their mud pit. Ben came out of the tractor shed and told me to brush him up and meet him in the indoor. They mother and daughter team were in their again with their six-year old ex-race quarter horse. Gorgeous mare, beautiful mover.

Brushed up Brantley and Ben took him by the lead and right away started brushing him quickly up and down with his hand reviewing the exercises he introduced him before. B responded very well and relaxed quickly although his attention was stolen by the well-mannered eye-catching bay mare clotting around the other half of the arena. Ben got his attention by disengaging his hind-quarters and sending him into either direction until he relaxed his head and put his attention on the one with the rope.

They went over turn-n-go's from the ground and running the rope down to his flank and underside tightening it in place to reflect the feelings of the front and back cinch. He was a little tender around his hocks with the rope around them but he settled quickly and went along with the exercise without shutting down and relaxed, tilting his nose actually towards Ben's body. He sent him through the tarp curtain again and B's facial expression gave the "I got this" look. Loved it! He jogged through it as if to say, "Easy!" Then scooted under it. Still makes him a little nervous but it's progress!!!!

He worked with the saddle pad running it up and down his body and hitting his flank with it. This was easy for B. :) He slid it up his neck over his ears and was surprised it didn't make him crazy. That's my boy! He even started to drop his head responding to the pressure with a little help from Ben. After he did this on both sides and saw it wasn't a big deal for B he moved on moving his feet around again working on half circles up and down the arena (sexy mare had left by then).

Before he started throwing the saddle over him he worked on jumping and laying across his back. This step made me nervous but he was a lot better than I thought he would be. He was being difficult releasing his head and his neck. Ben wanted to keep his head bent naturally so that if he got scared he could spin in a circle rather than take off. Kate and I had done that the first few times that we got on him. He got better and better as Ben worked him, both sides. He started to swim his leg up the side of his hind-quarter but not up on his back yet. Little baby steps. He rubbed the opposite the he jumped up on and down on his flank which he responded to very well. You could tell he was tense but he wasn't shaking as badly as I thought. Yay! Round pen tomorrow!

Ended with working on throwing the saddle which was an ease. Let him hang in the indoor while we talked shop and put him in his stall.

Let's hope tomorrow is just as successful!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Few Days at Cherry Croft

And we were off! After 2 hours of trying to load into a step-up trailer. My 10-15 minute loader... Hmph. In the end a friend let us borrow her trailer so we could get to Cherry Croft before dark... We were supposed to be there at noon but made it just as Ben (the trainer) was starting a lesson. Brantley got to chill in the round pen (of my dreams) while Greg tacked up Kid and Deb and I went to get a late lunch for everyone. We came back and I hoped on Kid for a while, talked to a few of the boarders (loved them), and put Mr. B in his stall for the night.
Monday afternoon Deb and I made our way down to the farm to check on the boys... We were expecting that not much was happening because of the torrential downpour and thunderstorms, but we hit a dry spot and I hopped on Kid for Deb. He was good as usual. Raced around a few barrels, and worked on leg yields. Brantley had Sunday and Monday to chill in the round pen and get used to his surroundings which I was completely cool with... Plus he got a bath! Definitely needed one...

Today was Brantley's Day #1 with Ben. The round pen was still flooded but Ben didn't want to waste any more time so we brought him in the indoor and he put him through the paces on the ground. His goal is to go through B's foundation and find the holes, fill them, then cement them in place and it will be my job to keep up with that. I know I can do it.

He started the boy on the line and he was nervous and a little jumpy at first like he usually is with someone new. He warmed up and relaxed after a few transitions and direction changes on the line. Finally he started to breathe a bit and Ben focused on him SLOWING down and thinking about where he's going to put his feet and not just blowing through the line and spinning off into the direction change. Brantley was a little rusty with the movements that we had down pat but as Brent said at the clinic, you can see where he just goes through the motions instead of thinking about it.

After a while on the ground Ben pulled the 'SCARY CURTAIN OF DEATH' out and Brantley proved how brave and what kind of a horse he was. Although the first few times of dragging Ben across the ring, head up, ears forward, eyes bulging, he always went back to try again. No matter how scary something is, Brantley always gives it a go until he understands. Before they moved on to the next thing, he stopped hesitating and jogged right through it. Still a little nervous, they'll work on it again tomorrow. Unfortunately I will be at work but Deb will watch and keep me updated.

They moved back to something that Brantley knew then worked on the rope and introducing the pressure of the girth and back strap around his belly and back to his flank. At first he raised his head and was nervous but after a few times he relaxed and stopped moving but DIDN'T SHUT DOWN! YAY! He dropped his head and licked and chewed and even turned his head, tipping his nose towards Ben like he was watching what he was doing. They then worked on some turn and go's off the ground, something Mason (my brother) loves doing with him. He went to toss the rope over his head expecting him to freak out but was very impressed that he didn't.

I can't wait to hear how tomorrow goes. They'll review a few things that they did today and hopefully if the round pen dries out he'll start him out there. Can't wait to hear the update!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Time for the Professionals

So I finally saved up enough to send Brantley to a professional. I did as much as I could for as much as I knew and together we have just a little too much baggage that either of us could handle. I called a friend of a friend who trains at a "local" farm called Cherry Croft where they raise cutters, reiners, and barrel racers, and I have complete faith that it will all work out.

He'll be there along with Kid for the next week, maybe longer, depending on how he does and I'll get to come and go. I hope I can stay involved because the experience will be amazing and totally worth it. Now I just have to make it through Christmas and worry about getting everything in order to start my NEW JOB! Everything is finally coming together. Fingers crossed my friends! Pictures to come.

http://www.controlhaltdelete.com/ Tear Drop Winken: December 2012

Tear Drop Winken