Arizona Gets Back In The Saddle

Sunday marked a momentous occasion for myself but mostly for Arizona, as she made an amazing return to the working world after an extensive eight-month long break. Because of seasonal illnesses, the flooding, a bad case of thrush, family obligations, and in general – life – Arizona had not been ridden since January. This weekend I was presented with the opportunity to ride with my barn owner and friend, Alberto, and quickly became excited knowing this was to be our comeback!

After such a long break I was worried of course for my own safety and anxious to see how she would handle herself. She has never been a BAD horse, no obstructive habits, no crazy bolting episodes, but she does spook sometimes. Some rides there are no scares and some rides there may be 1-2. When I first bought her last year she hadn’t been seriously ridden in about four years. Once in a while someone would hop on or even take her out but nothing serious or consistent. That first ride on her the steering was a bit rough and she didn’t enjoy being worked at all. She also had a huge spook right out of the gate. We kept at it and she got better and better.

This past weekend was flawless! We rode for about an hour 1/2 in the fields on a route we haven’t even gone through before. There were no surprises however we did ride with one of her barn mates that is fresh out of 30 days of training. Even she was wonderful. The unused fields were serene with a decent breeze. It was still pretty hot for 8:30 in the morning but at least there were no mosquitoes!

I’m beyond proud of my girl. I think she may have even enjoyed herself this time, being happy to get out and explore a new place with her horsey pal Luna. (Beautiful buckskin mare pictured below, ridden by Alberto.) Either way she sure takes care of me and I couldn’t love her more ❤

Arizona The QH Mare On A RideArizona The QH Mare On A Ride Arizona The QH Mare On A Ride

Arizona Gets Mud Fever

It’s a sad time out at the barn for my Zoni Poni as she begins a four-limbed battle with bacterial fungus of the pasterns, aka, mud fever. Each leg is affected and the back two particularly are in some discomfort as they are slightly inflamed. The mud in the pasture has reached an all time high this spring and it’s just beginning to –slowly– dry up. I’m not sure how much good it’ll do us though since we’re expecting three days of stormy rain weather again this week. It’s getting to be pretty miserable out there for our horses and I hope none of the others are affected as we truck through it.

Mud Fever On Arizona's Legs

This was when I discovered it. Monday morning I hand washed the mud off her legs and there it was.

Mud Fever On Arizona's Legs

And this was from earlier today. All dried up and being treated with Banixx spray.

And so my poor miserable horse is confined to her stall until it clears up, which could take weeks up to the entire month. I’ll be going out to hand walk her for a little bit each day and hopefully getting some grass will help cheer her up. She was visibly depressed today when I went out there, as last night was the first night she was refused turn-out. If today is any indication of her spirits it’s going to be a rough few weeks for her, but as her human I will be doing my best!

Pretty Arizona's Profile

After our little walk/graze I sat in her stall for a while, just dozing off and enjoying the breeze and her company.

Arizona Scratches

Her favorite itchy spot!

Arizona Goes to the Beach!

I’m ashamed to say this is another delayed post, but better late than never. A couple weekends ago on Sunday October 12th my friend Krista and I finally made it out to the beach with our horses after numerous failed attempts. The weather was against us and it would seem even so that day…

The road to the beach was not an easy one. The morning was a complete mess and all us brave souls on the freeway were going at a crawl because we could not see ten feet in front of us. A search of the rain radar said that our area of Padre Island happened to be cleared up, and sure enough when we got far enough to see through a bit of the darkness we spotted some blue! And brightness! There was sky to be seen after all! When we got there we found ourselves a nice spot on the side of the beach the city doesn’t care about (so we didn’t have to worry about leaving poops behind 😉 ) and retrieved the horses.

Just unloaded and tacking up. They got a bit wet from the rain on the trip down there. Those rainclouds came in fast!I took my boots and socks off and stashed those babies away and the sand was cool and squishy between my toes. I remember noting the horses weren’t as wet as I figured they would be given what we’d just driven through. Arizona was a little antsy about the experience initially after unload, looking up and down the beach with curious eyes. Zoni moved around as much as she could after I tied her up and began grooming her off but it didn’t take long to do since she wasn’t that dirty to begin with.

Just as we were about to pull the saddles from the trailer those black clouds we THOUGHT were behind us crept up and released rain upon us. Again we were getting soaked by the second. A certified downpour threatened to ruin our ride once again even though we’d already “won” by reaching the beach. We talked a bit about leaving but neither of us wanted to forfeit like that – again! We stood huddled next to the trailer, freezing, blinded by the run-off from our eyelashes and just waited. I don’t know how long we gave it but eventually Krista said “Well we’re already all wet, can’t get any worse, let’s just do this. Let’s watch for lightning and ride.”

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If you click this picture open you should be able to clearly see the giant raindrops as they fell on us. We could barely keep our eyes open against them!

So there I went, hopping around for body heat and in spirited rejuvenation. We saddled on up and even though there were a few prominent thunder crashes we didn’t see much of the lightning. When it came time to get on I found that with the sinking sensation of the sand and the lack of my inches given from my boots I couldn’t get on her the old fashioned way. Krista had to get down and help me mount up using the trailer tire hub — and then shorten my stirrups! #ShortGirlProblems

And then off we went!!!

10671341_10205225323657349_1392977036589967712_n10357830_10205225324057359_8492295241616624834_n 10678816_10205225331337541_6879333088109570908_nThe first and second time the waves touched her feet Arizona made little jumps back. After that she was in LOVE! She would veer to toward the water constantly asking if we could go back in. Krista and I rode for a good while up and down the beach, trotting and loping some, going into the water and back out of it and Krista was able to get a lot of neat pictures for me. Shout out to my Lifeproof case for iPhone for providing us with photos even during a storm!

1601299_10205225328097460_9209926507185109288_n 10641078_10205225325537396_5362419682532368967_nEventually the rain stopped completely and the sky was as vibrant and friendly as ever. The last time I took Arizona into the water during the ride I let her lead the way. She went in so deep my feet were starting to disappear. The water felt amazing to me even as little as I felt it, I can only imagine how it felt to her. When I finally took her back out again Krista and I explored a little bit of the sand dunes before heading back to the trailer. It was a lot of fun letting her take care of me. It was liberating to only have to hold on and trust my horse. She’s a great mare. “They know their feet better than we do,” Krista summed it up nicely. “Trust them to take care of you.” Next time I definitely want to ride up and down those some more. On that final stretch back to the truck I dropped my reins, threw my arms up to the sky and closed my eyes and just felt. “This feels so amazing!” was my personal understatement of the day.

After tacking down we let Arizona and Betty have a good roll.

10420371_10205225334377617_1752725117141018220_n 10670199_10205225336057659_8531973052994882852_n1653914_10205225336697675_1891223049685409019_n 10689806_10205225337257689_4830489472041489143_n1779124_10205225337657699_9015777830165733087_nThe second Arizona was up after she’d gotten two solid rolls in she was headed straight back to the water. I cheerfully plugged along side her, recording the experience and feeling happy to share it with her. It’s so fulfilling to see such a happy animal!

10675528_10205225338817728_8068110258186122492_n1972546_10205225342257814_8703256615784415951_n 10632765_10205225343537846_993815586904356288_n IMG_3969This day was one of my greatest experiences in horse ownership yet. The fresh air blew any negative thought I could’ve possibly been having away and the waves took it out to sea for me. It was a very much needed bonding experience for Arizona and I, and a healthy, exciting break from the day to day back at the barn. I know I am truly blessed.

Thank you Krista for not only your kind offer to go riding but your generosity in taking me and my girl with you. You’ve been a great horsey friend and it has been my pleasure getting to know you better! You rock, girl!

Arizona Rides the Open Highway

Today was a GREAT day! I took Arizona out for another long evening ride and it was beautiful and fun. Very relaxing and it took my mind off some things to boot. I met up with Krista, from my old barn (where I got Arizona) down by the bamboo that Alberto was telling me about. I’m glad to know where that short-cut is now so I can bypass the pitbull around the dump. Although, Krista says that dog is a wimp.

Arizona and I faced our fears this evening and RODE ON THE HIGHWAY! I’m very excited for us, we did wonderfully. She only spooked one single time and of all times it was right by our barn… by the neighbor dog… that she sees every day… Jeez, horses. We also trotted more than we usually do and it was okay. I’ll keep working on her collection because she’s still bumpy as hell, even though I know that slow beautiful trot is in there!

Now when I enter Powder’s stall she retreats to the corner and gives me her butt. This is UNACCEPTABLE. Instead of pissing her off though I have been doing the approach and retreat method and I’ve been able to get close up to rub her in the end. I didn’t pull her out and do anything today because Krista was ready to ride but next time I will put her back to work. I didn’t want to start anything I couldn’t finish. She’s not going to get away with testing me anymore though so I hope she realizes her kicking days are done!

I love this girl though. She’s an awesome mare and will make a great rider someday. We’ll get her there 😉

Arizona and I out on the county highway road, doing wonderful together!

My gorgeous view from atop my amazing horse. It was a great first time out on the busy and loud country highway road!

The bruise I got after being kicked by my Quarter Horse mare Powder.

The bruise I got after being kicked by my Quarter Horse mare Powder.

Perfect Evening For A Ride

Krissy and I went riding tonight and she introduced me to a new riding buddy named Erica. She has an adorable mare named Whiskey. We took the horses up and down the lovely county road. The breeze was amazing so our ride was nice and cool. The horses did some light spooking but nothing terrible. I was rather impressed with Arizona! She handled the neighbor dogs almost perfectly and didn’t spook at any of the traffic. I’d like to build her (and myself) up enough to get out on the main roads. I see cowboys up and down them all the time but we just aren’t there yet. From the experience we had today I’m thinking I may be best off doing it by myself too and not trying to go with a group, because the group spooked more than she did! She ‘herd-spooked’ once or twice off of Sable (Krissy’s pinto Arabian) and Whiskey (Erica’s bay mare) but I know she wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s interesting to observe this.

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Yes, I was very happy with her performance today. We did a little trotting and she gave me her sweet western trot for a while but then decided it was time to stop. When I asked again she gave me her bumpy Ichabod Crane maneuver. (Am I the only one who uses this as a reference? I tried finding a YouTube video with no success. Gunpowder is one bumpy ride!)

Anyways… I’m looking forward to seeing how Powder does with her feet. We have an appointment with my friend and farrier Jessica, on Tuesday before work. She’s in serious need of a trim! And still a new name… I think once I make a payment or two on her I’ll feel more confident about name changes. I am also watching every Clinton Anderson video I can get my hands on and taking notes to carry with me when I take her out next. I need to work in working her out into my barn schedule. Currently I’m riding Arizona every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Time to go watch more videos. I’m re-watching 2007’s Road to the Horse competition DVD! Side note about that year: It’s awful watching someone as amazing as Stacy Westfall tank so badly >.<