Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Clair under contract pending vet exam, plus video of her sire

My offer on Clair has been accepted! I'm arranging for a prepurchase exam, and assuming she passes I'll have her shipped here ASAP.

Here is video of her sire, Sir Sinclair. His offspring are accomplishing some great things.

Monday, July 28, 2014

More possible competition horses

I buzzed over to Dallas for 24 hours Saturday through Sunday and tried out two horses. First up was Clair the 16.2 hh Dutch Warmblood mare. She's seven years old and has a good bit of second level. I rode her late Saturday night and again early Sunday morning. It's so nice to be able to get on a horse you're trying out twice. The first time you're just trying to figure them out. The second time you can have some fun.

Later on Sunday I rode Presley the 17 hh Westphalian gelding. He's been mostly used as a jumper and doesn't have a solid dressage background. He's an impressive horse with gaits to die for, which I unfortunately wasn't able to show off in my test drive. I couldn't get him in front of my leg at all. But he was a sweetheart.

I don't know if you can tell from the videos of me on Clair, but we really clicked. I did W-T-C, leg yield, shoulder in, and haunches in. Clair was very willing and content throughout the ride. When her owner rode, she also showed me some trot lengthening and a turn on the haunches. The mare's got skilz! So -- drumroll -- I emailed an offer on Clair this evening. Fingers crossed! I will have her vetted with x-rays. Maybe, just maybe, I found my competition horse!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Starting to try out some possible competition horses

I'm in no big hurry, but I do eventually want to lease out Dakota and find myself a horse to take up the levels. I'm finally in a financial position where I can afford to do this -- both buy the right horse and then have enough disposable income to compete.

This weekend I tried out a lovely Andalusian mare in Kansas. We got along quite well. I do love trying out different horses. I will cut myself some slack since it was my first time on her, but my self criticisms are: I'm riding her too much behind the vertical, with not enough connection, and she could be more forward. But she looks happy in the video, and she has foam, so those are pluses.

This weekend we travel back to UWMC in Seattle for my one-year post-kidney-donation followup. I feel great and have had no problems.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On the mend

The vet visited Dakota yesterday to take a look at his mouth. After light sedation, Dakota was utterly stoned. The vet agreed that there was some swelling on the left side of his mouth, but felt that it was mostly resolved. She suspects he was either stung by an insect or got a sticker or small stick stuck on the left side of his mouth several days ago, and it manifested most severely on Sunday. He's well on the road to recovery and will be ready to go back to work Saturday. The vet liked the eggbutt snaffle I'm using and thinks it fits him well. Great news on all fronts.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fantastic fig, and dental detective work

I love our new house in Texas. Among the many things I love are the pecan tree in front and the fig tree in back. The pecan was in great shape, but I had my doubts about the fig. Lubbock has been suffering from a drought for a couple years, and this house had been empty for a year; the fig was looking pretty pathetic. I took this picture in early May when we had all the truly dead branches trimmed down. The tree trimmer assured us that it would bounce back.

I've been setting the hose at the base of the fig and letting it drip a few hours at a time several days a week. Look what happened in ten weeks! We've even got a bunch of fruit ripening. I never would have predicted such a quick recovery.

I've suspected a burgeoning mouth issue with Dakota for a couple weeks now. He's been giving me some subtle signals that something isn't right -- a little bit of head tossing on the lunge and under saddle. I've been using a loose-ring French link snaffle with him, and the first thing I suspected was that it was half an inch too wide for him (not thickness but width between the rings) and pinching. So I ordered an eggbutt French link snaffle a half-inch narrower. It seemed to fit him very well, and in any case he has been willingly opening his mouth for the bit when bridling, so I thought I might have fixed the problem. But he still had some uncharacteristic head tossing even with the new bit. I thought maybe it was just him getting used to a different feel, but I was planning to get a vet out just in case. Today I was planning on a quick ride, but when I got Dakota in place to attach the cross ties, as I reached for the halter to hold it steady for the cross tie, Dakota threw his head up and to the right. He absolutely didn't want me near his mouth. I took a closer look, and I think it's swollen on the left side. Poor man. I bagged the idea of riding and will get the vet out tomorrow. Dakota had his teeth floated in November, so I'd be surprised if he needs another float, but we'll see.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dakota settles in, and a new canine addition

Dakota is doing great. I lunged him several times in the new arena, and then one night the property owner was just leaving for a sunset trail ride as I arrived and invited us along. Dakota is always so sensible that I said yes, tacked him up, and off we went, even though he hadn't been ridden in twelve weeks. We had a lovely hack. Dakota's feet were a little tender on the gravel roads, so we moved up to the edges of the cotton fields. He was a total steady Eddie, walking calmly the whole way except for two quiet trot sets. What a good boy. He's on free choice grass hay from a round bale at all times, and he looks great.

Dakota's pasture mate is a quarter horse gelding named Shiloh. They are thick as thieves and completely adorable together.

There are also two mini donkeys on the property. Who doesn't love mini donkeys? They are a force to be reckoned with. One night one of the dogs was chasing a jack rabbit all over the property. The dog made the mistake of following the rabbit through the donkey pasture, and one of the donkeys charged and knocked the dog through the air about ten feet. The jack rabbit was relieved and managed to escape.

My GSP Sam passed away about six months ago, and I have really been missing him. I talked Ted into thinking about adding an adult rescue GSP, and while I think he was a little hesitant to add a fourth dog, he agreed. We found a beautiful boy in Amarillo named Duke, and we've had him for two weeks now. He had a rough start in life and is fearful of many things, but we've already seen a lot of progress. He's a sweetheart and a clown. We love him to death. And all four dogs are living in harmony.