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We Are Flying Solo

November 9, 2009

Taking Stock

So, I'm pretty much caught up to the present. Finally! I've glossed over a lot, much of it I'm sure I'll come back to, what with my talent for repeating myself and all. Here's where we stand:

Yup, that's my little red speck to the left of the tree.
(1) Home: Solo is mostly settled in at the new farm. To my delight, he is back on pasture board, but with a big safe stall of his own for eating and severe weather. The rest of the time, he is out and about, keeping joints and intestines healthy and mobile.

To my not-so-delight, he is in mad crazy love with a little grey pony mare who is in insane heat. Praise be to the heavens, they will be forced to break up in two days when we rearrange the pastures and Solo will be back in an all-boy group, having proved his untrustworthiness around mares. I can't even catch him now and my sane, lovely horse is now a maddening wild stallion, herding "his" mare carefully away from all other people and horses. I might stab him with a blunt object.  Must...have... restraint...till...Wednesday. But the facility is lovely and BO and co-boarders are gems.


Left Front(2) Feet: I talked a little bit about foot problems here. Solo did great barefoot for a while, but EX-farrier managed to completely get rid of his poor heels, at which point farrier was fired. So we had to go back to shoes. They are on all four for now. The fronts are in wedge pads too, til the heels grow back, but the pads are trapping too much moisture and causing frog sensitivity so this week, we are switching to aluminum wedges and pads BE GONE, hurrah!


(3) Tack: Saddles fit, I am trying ANOTHER new bit for dressage -- he liked the happy mouth double-jointed Boucher, but I still felt like things could be better. Am borrowing a KK ultra French mouth loose ring (so happy I found one in BO's bit collection because I can't afford to buy that!) and so far, like it even more. He is STAYING on the bit at the trot and that's a REALLY big deal!

It's been a bit journey -- started with a full cheek snaffle, went to D-ring French link, then D-ring Myler, which worked well for a long time, I now look much more favourably upon the low level Mylers, then to this happy mouth Boucher we picked up at a consignment sale, which Solo quite liked. I have to stay with double jointed bits as Solo has a low palate and big tongue, so single jointed bits jab him in the roof of the mouth. I think we'll stick with the KK though, I really like this new feel.

(4) Dressage: Making good progress. Trot work is becoming much more enjoyable as Solo learns to reach for the contact and stay on it. Walk is good, but need more impulsion. W/T transitions feeling great, as is halt, although Solo has this new tendency to drift left into the halt, but only on centerline, grrr. Canter...well, it has single-stride moments, transitions are not great, it's our project. But Solo is becoming much more supple in all gaits, moves mostly readily off the leg and moves over his back.

(5) Jumping: We were going really well, but since moving to the new place, just haven't had any good schooling sessions as Solo has become a horse-shaped wrecking ball. Still jumping clean at comps as long as I don't mess him up, but we've lost the flow. I think I am not using enough impulsion... Our jumping coach is having surgery so can't travel up here for a bit and we haven't had a lesson with him in a while, sigh. I NEED one! you'll get some detailed progress and musings on our day-to-day crap, such as it is. I didn't get to ride this weekend, I don't want to work him until the stupid pads come off as we have our big competition coming up in two weeks and I don't want him going footsore on me. I spent some time ground driving him last night for a nice change of pace since he doesn't limp on the arena footing. He did well in the end, although it always makes him nervous. I am working on getting him comfortable with me driving him from directly behind where he can't see me, to build his confidence in himself.

If there are topical posts you'd like to see, feel free to submit requests as well and I will freely share my brain drivel on the topic at hand. But I like to read and explore riding theory and am always open to gathering new tools for the the toolbox, so I spend a lot of time thinking about all that -- now whether my thinking is useful or not remains deeply in question, but it amuses me. I also plan to do some product reviews, as I find them immensely helpful for my own purchases, I want to help out other horsepeople decide what is right for them.

PhotobucketI will keep our calender on here up to date with our various activities and hopefully will get some new videos soon as our routine at the new place settles a bit more. I hate winter because I have to ride in the dark during the week, but at least BO has good lights.

Long term goal: complete Training 3-Day Event at Waredaca. (3 years?)
Short term goal: get a nice canter transition. (10 years?)

SO, now you know the back story, let's see where it takes us...

Me and Solo on our birthday 2009 (my 30th, his 13th). Headgear courtesy of dear barn friends.


  1. I want to see a picture of the wanton grey hussy.

  2. As do I! I am so sympathetic, as Mosco fell madly in love with a little Arab mare when we moved down here (he'd never before been aware that boys & girls existed! Everything was the same to him). He turned into a crazy man too! Couldn't catch him, mounting her (with her willing participation, I might add, the hussy), hot and spooky. Basically the polar opposite of his normal self & we had many come to Jesus meetings until he figured out that I am the main mare in his life!!!! He didn't fully shape up til we moved him to an all gelding pasture though. Horses, gotta love 'em!

  3. I HATE it! We have had many discussions that involve solid thwaps and yelling in the past week. I hate his anxiety level and I hate his sheer belligerance as he herds the little tramp away from me in the pasture!

  4. Ah yes... Jackson has the same problem. He once jumped two fences, chased the mares around so much he twisted a shoe, and then jumped back over the two fences where he decided the twisted shoe hurt, and then came to see me. Plus, he has the problem that if he is pastured in an extra-large pasture (40+ acres) he turns into "wild horse" and can not be ridden until he has had time to hang out in a paddock and get back into domestication..... wacko horse.

  5. Aaahhh, grey ponies are so flippin' cute! No wonder he <3s her!

    Wow, you and Solo certainly have come a long way.

    Oh, and seeing as you're a fellow barefoot advocate -- how do you feel about "natural" hoof trimming? I read a book by Pete Ramey and it makes a lot of sense to me -- he trims the horse's foot like a wild Mustang's hoof. Unfortunately, there are no natural trimmers in my area. There is a group of people who trim their own horses and then meet once a month @ eachother's places to critique/discuss, etc., but I'm scared as hell to trim Salem's feet myself. Unfortunately, my farrier just trims him like he's going to be shod, and then doesn't put a shoe on. Salem's getting a bit flat-footed and I don't like it.

  6. Well, I think that "natural" hoof trimming is just a balanced hoof trim! If a farrier trims a barefoot hoof like it will be shod, than, as the kittehs say, "ur doin it rong!" Without a bevel on wall and correct balance, the foot will just crack and split and flare all day long and the sole will never be properly concave.

  7. Exactly! All the farriers down here are kinda anti-barefoot, as is everyone else. The trainer at my barn keeps telling me, "That horse needs shoes or he is going to go lame!" Meanwhile, all of the fancy show horses who get shod by the expensive farrier have hooves a mile long.
    *sigh* Maybe I'll have to join the Barefoot Cultist Group and trim Salem's hooves myself (although...if I can't make my eyebrows even, how am I supposed to make a horses' hooves even?).

  8. ROFL -- it's a common problem. I see EXPENSIVE eventing horses with horribly long toes that make me cringe. Long toe/low heel is the most common issue causing lameness/soreness in the US right now, so I have heard. I had to just about beat ex-farrier about the head with a stick to get him to lop those toes off. It's a wonder some of the horses I see can even break over at all... I'm not an advocate of owners trimming horses themselves, I do believe trimming is a learned art, but one is one to do in your situation? If you really want to piss off the Fancy Show Horse people, carry a sign and chant about how shoes are killing their horses.

  9. Do you really share the same birthday with Solo? That is fabulous. His new digs took really nice. Pretty green grass. Yes, time to break up the lovestruck horses. I was worried about that when I bought Marley. But fortunately, I haven't noticed Misty come in heat at all since Marley joined the family and Marley has been a complete gentleman. It's purely platonic, thank goodness! Besides, Marley would need a step-stool.

    Marley has long toes & short heals. And he trips a lot. I have a new farrier seeing him in December. Ex farrier said it is bad hoof conformation and can't be changed or his frog will not be engaged. Will be interesting to see what the new guy says. Hope Solo's feets improve soon.

  10. Equine, his birthday is sometime in late winter/early spring, so I made it the same as mine for convenience, LOL.

    Apparently Marley needs to give Solo lessons! I would bet he could stand to lose some toe though. Xrays will tell you for sure. I'm no farrier so take it all with a grain of salt but if your new guy comes, I'm interested to see what he has to say. Besides, taking off toe does not affect the frog, especially when the heels are low, the frog will always be on the ground.