I am way past due for another blog, but it has been a very, very busy 6 weeks. I started a blog a couple of weeks ago but didn’t get it completed before heading out for a week of horse camping at 4-J Big Piney Horse camp. This past 6 months has been one trip after another. I am currently writing this blog from a hotel room in Seattle! I should stay put for a month after I get home from Seattle, at least until early December. At that time, I will be in Nassau doing my open water dive to complete my scuba certification.
This last trip to the Big Piney was probably my 6th? My Facebook memories have been popping up reminders of past trips. I know I took Kadeen right after I got him (a big no-no according to some folks…) which was in 2009. Interestingly enough, my Facebook memories have included several references to “discussions” I had with Kadeen early on about what I wanted him to do.
How quickly we forget!
One memory talked about a couple of hours of lunging to get him to load nicely into the trailer. Another one talked about a fight over crossing a tiny bit of water. Apparently, Kadeen got light in the front end as well as a little bucky with the back end. These are both scenarios that have played out recently with Finn. It was a good reminder to me that I had to “pay my dues” with Kadeen before he morphed into the incredible, compliant, well-trained horse that he is today.
I have a critter sitter at home while I am in Seattle. Within hours of her arrival, she texted me that the change in Finn’s demeanor was incredible. She said, “Wow! I can’t believe how much calmer Finn is! He will actually let you rub on him without trying to run over you.”
Unfortunately, Finn came home from the Big Piney with a cough and the snots. About 5 stalls down, I heard a horse cough midway into our week of camping. I was not happy, and very much hoped we wouldn’t bring it home. Sure enough, as Finn backed out of the trailer the day we arrived home, he coughed. He hasn’t been running a fever, so it appears not to be viral as much as bacterial. He has been getting medicated twice a day and is still eating well. So far Kadeen appears to be unaffected.
We had a fabulous time at the Big Piney, notwithstanding the fact that the night before we left Alan hurt his finger. I had clipped bridle paths on both horses and decided I’d clip all the long hairs on their muzzles as well. I don’t clip the hairs around their eyes because those hairs help prevent damage to their eyes from tree branches and other potential insults on the trail.
A broken finger
Kadeen stands like a stone to be clipped, unhaltered. Finn has been great when I clip his bridle path, but he decided NO WAY was I going to clip his muzzle hairs. He threw his standard “light on the front end” fit in the stall, and unfortunately, Alan’s finger was a casualty of that tantrum. Interestingly enough, after I disciplined Finn in the stall, it was like he flipped a switch. Suddenly he was passive and compliant, and the clipping was completed without further incident. Apparently, he is learning that resistance is a bad idea.
We thought that Alan had just jammed his finger. However, the fact that the pain never improved throughout the week of camping prompted Alan to seek medical advice upon our return. It is broken! Not a transverse fracture as usually happens, but broken the long way of the finger. He hasn’t yet heard from the hand specialist. We don’t know if it will require internal fixation or just an external reset and splint. I have seen the radiographs. There appears to be a segment of bone that will might need to be pinned… I have a plentiful supply of VetWrap so he is currently sporting a nice blue glittery wrap around the finger splint!
We put about 40 miles on the horses during our week of riding. We had great weather until the last two days when it was rainy and cold. My horses didn’t get as much riding this summer as I would have liked, so we tried to be reasonable in our expectations of them. However, a tired horse is a good horse, and that sure proves true with Finn. We did have a couple of arguments, but by the end of the week, he didn’t have a lot of fight in him.
I’m not going to lead!
At one point, after having crossed mud and water multiple times previously that week, Finn decided he didn’t want to be the leader into the river. We were on a trail that would require two river crossings. I urged Finn forward and he balked. Before I could respond, Alan rode up alongside on Kadeen, and Kadeen pushed forward into the river. Finn followed willingly. I told Alan that on the second crossing, Finn was going first whether he wanted to or not! As we approached the river, I could sense Finn preparing to argue. I had my popper ready, and at the first hesitation, I provided some “encouragement”! Alan was laughing as he watched it unfold…. Finn went right in. I was very, very pleased with Finn’s behavior during the week. He has learned so much this summer.
The FUN Show
Every year at the Big Piney they have a fun show which I totally enjoy participating in. I have not ridden Kadeen all summer, but in past years I only rode Kadeen. This year I rode Kadeen in the fun show and had a ton of fun. The camp was full of either gaited horses or quarter horses, and I saw only one other Arabian besides my two. There is a pleasure class for gaited horses, and one for Quarter horses, and we don’t fit either category, so we never fare well in the pleasure class!
However, I got second in the water glass class (I’ve won it in the past!), and the keyhole race (lost first place by a fraction of a second!), and 3rd in the egg and spoon. The egg and spoon class starts with us holding the spoon in our hands, but when the class size dwindles, the spoon has to go in our mouths. Watch the video above and you will see why my egg dropped into my lap! Thanks, Kadeen!
I love the fact that Kadeen and I do so well in the water glass class. We start out with completely full glasses of water and we have to ride and stop and turn for a few minutes, and then place our glass on a barrel to be compared to everyone else’s glass. Several folks lose a lot of water just trying to get their horses to sidle up to the barrel quietly and close enough to place the glass on top. Everyone always thinks that gaited horses are so much smoother but my guy’s lovely jog is a joy to ride!
Super happy dogs!
We had all four dogs with us, and they had a great time as well. How many dogs do you think it takes to retrieve a stick from the water? Who knew that my best retriever would be a German Shepherd? Mica beat Bailey and Finn to the stick every time, but then one or both of them would take it from Mica and bring it back. Leah wants nothing to do with the water.
Once we get Alan’s finger repaired and Finn’s snots cured, we’ll be back to “normal”, although normal is just a setting on the dryer! We have no other big riding plans this year, although the colors of the leaves right now are breathtaking. At long last, the new IDMyHorse website is about to launch, it has been so hard to find time to get that done. Watch for holiday specials on Emergency Saddle Identification Tags and consider getting some for yourself or friends and riding buddies. They make great stocking stuffers and you are giving the gift of safety. Happy Trails!