Friday 30 September 2011

Equine Apple Bobbers

The last few days have been far too hot to ride and so today I decided to play a game with the horses and ponies. As you all know horses and ponies love apples, so as it was such a hot day I thought a water game would be good, and here it is apple bobbing for equines.

Sadly Pip had rather a lot of dirt in his moustache and it all ended up in the water, Pip tried and tried to get the apple but just couldn’t get a good grip on it.

So Niko came to show him how it was done, Niko tried his best and came very close as he had the good tactic of pushing the apples next to the side of the bucket and then trying to grab them, sadly he too just couldn’t get a grip.

Pip continued to try and get the apples while Niko decided that the best way to get the apples would be to drink all the water and then eat the apples at the bottom of the bucket.

But before he had time to drink enough of the water Madeline sent him and Pip running so that she could have a go. She tried and just like the others had no success.Despite not managing to catch an apple the equines seemed to have good fun.

After Madeline had tried for just a little I took the apples out of the bucket so they could finally have their prizes. Murphy and Tipper did not take part in the apple bobbing because they were nibbling the few bits of grass we have left, but they too got an apple each.

After writing this post I am wondering to myself maybe I had been out in the sun a bit too long.

Thursday 29 September 2011

I Have Returned

Hello to all my fellow Bloggers and viewers, first off a very big thank you to all my commenters and thanks for all the advise. Also to put your minds' at rest I have been quite well thank you, the reason for my absence was simply I was distracted by other matters. I have been on blogger and I have been reading some of your posts but did not find the time to comment sorry, must try harder.

Right so lots has been going on, mostly riding. This photo is of Niko and for those of you that don’t know he is on the bit. For those of you that do know and think it looks a bit messy, I am aware, my instructor says we might need to use a flash just to stop Niko’s bottom jaw from flapping, not to hold his mouth closed. Oh and those are my hands holding the reins, so I am very happy that I finally got him on the bit.

Also Madeline has had a bit of schooling with my riding instructor, Madeline tried really hard to do the what she was asked and did really quite well. My instructor says Madeline is very unbalanced and needs lots of work in walk and very slowly build her up to rising trot, my instructor has given me advice on how to go about schooling her.

So everything is going pretty well, thanks again to you all.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Riding Is Harder Than It Looks

I was going to do a post just about my training but quite a bit has been going on so I’ll be talking about some of that too, I haven’t got any photos that are really relevant so the photos are all old because it’s always raining and the camera isn’t fully water proof.

My riding instructor is coming to ride Niko again and will be teaching me a bit afterwards. In between my lessons I have obviously been doing lots of riding and I hate to say it but I am just getting frustrated, I have read it, I have been told it, I have watched it, and yet I cannot do it! I am completely useless with my reins I am not sure what the contact should feel like and I can’t get my hands to stay still even when I try to use my elbows as shock absorbers I can’t seem to get it right, I’ll have to talk to my instructor about the contact and see if they can help. In the mean time if any of you have advice or things you found worked for you please do tell.

We’ve been doing some work with Pip, now he can be quite stubborn but he was really good today, we’ve just been working on basic stuff for now but I was still happy with him. Also I have been riding Madeline again that didn’t go so well as it had been raining but was drying out, I asked for a trot and a few seconds afterwards we went thought some shade from the trees and it hadn’t dried up there, next thing we are both on the ground covered in mud luckily Madeline was fine, and we got back to it and finished the ride with no more mishaps.

Also Tipper was quite odd today, he was mooching about lying down in different places trying to get comfy, this is odd because normally when he tries to go down, be it for a roll or for rest, his legs tremble and sometimes he has to stop before he can lay down, but today he was seemingly fine and in the end went to sleep in the straw after a while snoozing he got up still fine and went back to eating straw, so I think he must be feeling pretty good or at least I hope he is.

Anyway I’ll try to get some new photos soon, and maybe I’ll manage to get this whole contact and still hands thing sorted.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Getting Ready For Winter

I have been feeling a bit under the weather lately, but I am now feeling pretty much better so it’s back to blogging So first off here is the newest addition to our horse’s forage, our feed supplier strongly advised we give our horses some straw to munch, considering he suppliers Her Majesties Royal Stud with straw and they too feed it we thought it couldn’t be such a bad idea, so here it is.

All our equines seem to really like it, Tipper and Madeline seem the most fond of it, at first Pip wasn’t too big on the idea of going from haylage to straw but he soon realized he was just having the straw as extra and was still having the same amount of haylage and was then happy to dig in, they are all really enjoying it and it will help to keep them warm when the weather starts to turn colder.

We have also added barley rings to the horses and ponies hard feed they seem to go down pretty well so that is good, the thoroughbreds are now having very big feeds so if we want to give them anymore we are probably going to have to split it into two feeds. Anyway that’s some of our preparation for the coming winter, and yes I know it’s still quite a long time till winter, but Niko ruined his condition by cribbing and while we have stopped him from cribbing he still needs to build up more condition before winter.

Next post I’ll be telling you some more about my training and how that is going, but for now that’s all.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Niko in Boots!

These are Niko’s old Rhinegold tendon boots complete with fur but as you can see they have buckles instead of Velcro, not always a bad thing but they can be hard to fit so that they are not too tight but at the same time not going to slip and for everyday use it is a lot of trouble.

So I have purchased a full set of John Whitaker International tendon boots they are easy to put on with no slipping down and at the same time hard to put on too tight because they are Velcro. I also quite like the blue, I was hoping for white but they were out of stock.

Maybe we will be able to get Madeline a set in white but for now blue. They are pretty dirty in the photos as I have used them in mud and haven’t wiped them down yet, that is also one more plus they aren’t leather, as I am sure you can see, so don’t need as much care.

All in all a nice easy to use set of tendon boots that do the job well. I also bought a set of John Whitaker International bandages they are white and very nice but the boots are a lot easier to use as I haven’t used bandages before.

Monday 12 September 2011

What the Vet Said

Today the vet arrived to finish off Madeline’s teeth and to give Niko some shots, it was a different vet to the one that had started Madeline’s teeth. He got on really well with Madeline, he had the headcollar on very loose as well as the gag, but Madeline was still as good as gold for him. He told me a bit about what’s going on in her mouth, so if she is still in discomfort now she’s had her teeth done we know what needs to be done, so all was well with Madeline and the vet.

Next up we had Niko which was all very quick with no fuss, I am not even sure if Niko realized he had just been injected, oh well best that way. So that was all we had called the vet out for but seeing as he was there and seemed to know his stuff we asked him about Tipper, as Tipper has not been right since we got him and we have begun to worry that it may be more than just mistreatment which is causing the problems.

He gave Tipper a good check over, he picked his foot up with really no trouble, he had me walk Tipper and trot him to see how he was. Then he took Tipper and did something I have never see before and will probably never see again, he lunged Tipper using his stethoscope to drive Tipper on. It was quite a funny sight. After he had made Tipper do a few different movements, and checked him out, he had this to say:

He said that he thought a lot of it was simply that Tipper is ignorant (rude). When Tipper was trotted up he said, “That isn’t a horse in pain” but he also told us it could, take note on could, be wobbles, but there is a good chance it isn’t. He also said it's a good idea to have someone out to check his back and sort it if necessary. He said it didn’t matter what they called themselves be it chiropractors, McTimoney or osteopaths, as they all talk a load of, in his words crap, they can’t rotate the vertebrae or put a pelvis back in place so ignore all the crap they have to say, but some of them can help to make a horse feel better so find one that has been proven to work and use them.

It was a very interesting visit from the vet and he was the best we have ever had and the most helpful, obviously I don’t want to upset anyone and everyone is free to have there own opinion on back people, but this was just what our vet had to say on the matter.

After returning home and doing some research it turns out the vet was in fact the owner and founder of the veterinary group that we use so that would explain why he was so good at his job. Also my riding instructor knows a back person that they say works so maybe we will have to give them a go.

Sunday 11 September 2011

The Instructor Meets Niko

Today I’ll be telling you about what’s been going on regarding my riding instructor, but the photos will be of my saddle, with and with out its saddle pad, because my follower allhorsestuff said it would be interesting too many, so none of the photos will be relevant to what I am telling you.

My instructor arrived as planned, first of all they wanted to see me ride Niko in walk trot and canter on both reins, and then jump in trot and canter, so with all that done they were ready to get on and give him a go.

I never really get to see Niko being ridden, so it was really nice to see, at first he was a little bit cheeky and did try to get out of working from behind but only for a little, and then he was good. He really does look stunning when he is on the bit and working nicely, but then he is my horse so I would say that.

I was surprised at how floaty he looked obviously not as floaty as some dressage horses but still a very pretty picture. My instructor really liked him, they said he was responsive and had a lovely mouth, they also said he was quite rusty, understandably with me on him for the past couple of years, but that he could be quite good in sometime.

I rode him after my instructor for a little and they told me more about trying to get him on the bit. Afterwards my instructor took me back to their yard, where I was able to see them getting Spike ready for a one day event that they were going to. I saw them jumping Spike and then bath him and plait him and what sort of products they use.

I got to join in with bathing Spike and I cleaned their dressage bridle while they did the other tack. My instructor also took a look at all of our other equines, and gave us advise on them, which was all very interesting.

So all in all it was a lot of fun, and I like to think I have learnt some useful things, plus this was the first time I have see my instructor ride, so I was happy to see their riding lived up to their qualifications.

And on a completely different subject KK if you are having difficulty finding the right sort of saddle pad you might want to take a look at this blog’s post which is about saddle pads.

Friday 9 September 2011

I Can’t Think Of a Title for This Post

Sadly due to unforeseen circumstances my instructor couldn’t make it, and believe me when I say unforeseen. So I will just show you some more of the things I bought. Here is Niko’s nice new Bartl girth sleeve, it really is nice, it’s so soft, it is quite warm which is perhaps not so good but come to think of it I did go out on a hack and did a lot of cantering and there was no sweat on Niko’s girth area, anyway I was happy with it.

And I brought this Bartl noseband cover which is very soft, I got both of these in black as they didn’t have the girth sleeve in natural where I was buying them and I wanted a matching set. I was very happy with the noseband cover as well, I had a noseband cover before which was good but I wanted a Bartl one after having used one of their grooming mitts because I realized just how soft Bartl sheepskin products are.

I also brought this new numnah not as interesting as the Bartl stuff but still nice, I like its piped edges.

I really like that it has Velcro straps, I have only used numnahs with straps that you have to slip the leather into before and I found the Velcro straps were easy to use and allowed more freedom, I could adjust the straps so that the numnah sat well on his back but was also very secure.

I still have a few more things to show you all but that will have to wait for another post.

In news regarding my instructor and my lessons I will if all goes well be having my lesson tomorrow and they will be riding Niko as well, like we arranged before. Then afterwards my instructor will take me back to their yard and they will ride Spike and then show me how they get there horses ready for shows, so let’s hope nothing else goes wrong but you never can tell so I will just have to wait and see.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Tipper Turnout Rug

Recently I brought a load of new horsey stuff including Tipper’s turnout rug. So I don’t have one horribly long post I am going to have to split up lots of the things I have bought and have been doing into different posts. His new rug is from Rhinegold and I quite like it.

So here it is his new rug, at the moment the rug is cleaner than the horse, the rug is a great fit for Tipper and is a pretty warm rug too, it isn’t as fancy as Niko’s Rhinegold rug but if it gets to cold we can always double rug.

The rug has this great tartan padding on the inside, it is nice and soft and really builds heat always a good thing, the rug doesn’t have the tartan padding at the front so I think that must be to do with preventing rubbing on the shoulders.

The rug also, like most turn out rugs, has a fake sheepskin wither pad with a ring to attach a neck cover, I do have a matching neck cover that is made to go with the rug, complete with tartan padding on the inside, but I haven’t tried it on him yet so have no photos of it, I hope it fits.

I have also had another lesson today we worked on lot of stuff as always but especially improving my turns and working on keeping the horse straighter. Also my instructor will be coming to ride Niko tomorrow, they will ride him for a bit and then they will teach me on him for a bit, it should be interesting and it will be nice to see what dressage Niko can do with a more competent rider on board.

Also blogger isn’t always updating your blogs on my dashboard so sorry to those of you if I keep missing your posts.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Wintec Rear Riser Saddle Pad -Review

Now that I have had some more time to use the Wintec rear riser saddle pad I think it’s time to give it a review.

The Wintec pad fitted to Niko’s back well and was easy to fit, it was held in place nicely after I had put his saddle on and there was no slipping, it did show more than I had thought it would, it isn’t the nicest looking pad out there.

Niko before being ridden, not too impressed.

But when I mounted I was pleasantly surprised at how much comfier it was, I was a little higher than normal with pad under the saddle which was nice, as we got going I found the pad made everything a lot comfier and less bumpy but without restricting Niko’s movement.

The rear riser has two thicker pads at the back where the horse’s back is weaker, it helps to absorb shock and reduces pressure on the back, but that wasn’t why I got it as after all it’s Niko’s withers that have been being rubbed, so the question is did it work.

Niko after being ridden, quite impressed.

The Wintec rear riser saddle pad has indeed stopped any rubbing on Niko’s withers, this is a great saddle pad that has worked really well and is very comfy too. This saddle pad is ideal for use on horses with high withers or sway backs, and is also useful for horses with little to no top line while they are building it.

All in all very good pad I am happy to have it, and I am sure Niko is too.

Saturday 3 September 2011

Enough is Enough!

Normally I don’t have a problem with cribbers and I think it best to let them get on with it, but recently Niko has been very lazy about foraging, can’t say that I blame him as there is very little to forage, but it has been causing him to build up weight more towards his front and with his already poor top line he quite simply looks a mess also he hurt his shoulder. So we have stopped him hopefully for good.

We tried the Cribox and sadly it didn’t work for long as every time it rained the Cribox was diluted and stopped working, so that was just no good as we ended up buying all the Cribox from the tack shop and it still wasn’t enough.

So we tried chilli sauce as we had heard it worked sadly Niko seemed to quite like it and was very happy cribbing on his nice chilli flavour posts, so again no success.

Then one could turn to a cribbing collar or a muzzle, but cribbing collars don’t really work unless you do them up so tight that they are nearly choking the horse, so despite what some may say they aren’t a humane way of stopping a cribber. A muzzle is also a bad way to go about stopping a cribber as it can make them head shy.

So we finally got around to crib proofing one section of the paddock by running a strand of electric wire along the top of the fence posts where Niko would normally crib, this has worked brilliantly and he now doesn’t even try to get a quick crib in, he hasn’t shocked himself once as he is well aware of what the wire is.

I really am quite happy about this and I do think this will work I know that Niko will never really stop being a cribber and if he gets the chances to crib he most likely will, but he is looking better already for not cribbing.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my review of the saddle pad now I have had time to give it a fair crack at the whip so to speak.

Friday 2 September 2011

Harsh Language

First of all I will say sorry I forgot to take any photos of how we are now stopping Niko from cribbing so I’ll just tell you about an interesting visit we had today, and do a post about Niko’s cribbing tomorrow.

Today the Gypsy that sold us Pip came to see how he was getting on in his new home. He was quite surprised at how small Pip was, he still has growing to do but it looks like he is going to be small when he is done growing. When the Gypsy, who I will call Bob to make thing easier, saw how small he was he offered us one of his other Gypsy Vanners, in exchange for Pip, that he believes will grow larger than Pip, obviously we declined.

He told us we should put Pip outside the paddock on a tether so he can get to the grass, first of all I don’t like tethering horses or ponies or any other form of equine, so that was also a no, but the thing I find odd about Bob telling us to put him on a tether is that not long ago he was telling us how one of his horses had broken it’s neck by running around on it’s tether, so I think it best not to tether don’t you?

As Bob stood back next to Pip looking at the other horses he saw Tipper and we started telling him about why and where we got him. Bob then started to tell us how meat men were paying a good price for horses of that size. At first I didn’t even know what he meant, until he went on to say he’s just costing you money while you keep him and he’s no good for anything, and then I realized what he was getting at, no thank you sir.

He has advised us to use olive oil on Pip’s tail to make it nice and shiny makes sense I guess, but then he also told us to pour a mixture of paraffin and used motor oil over Pip’s mane and down his legs to remove any mites or varmints as he would say. It is true we do need to consider a way of preventing mites as any horse or pony with feathers is prone to them, but I think that is maybe not the safest way to go about it.

All this said Bob is a nice person if a little odd, but then I suppose he thinks we are odd too, but in a way some of the things he says do make sense to the more harsh business like person. Just as well I am a useless business man, I would rather keep Tipper as a companion or something for the rest of his life than send him to meat.

In yet more other news I have tried the saddle pad for the first time to day and will also be doing a post/review about that sometime soon.