Same Old

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Well, here we are in September. I guess we're just reaching a point in life where things don't change as much or as often as they once did. Esti is two now, and pretty well settled in. Brian's job is good. Work is steady for me. Life goes on. Which is mostly good as, generally speaking, our life is pretty darn fabulous. But as far as the horses go, we're still a bit stuck. However, things don't feel as gloomy as they did last year.

Laredo

Back at the beginning of the year, we decided to sell Laredo. Then after dragging our heels on that for several months, we realized we really didn't want to. Since then we've had some success managing his cough. Brian's been riding him and things have been going well. He's just such a fabulous, solid guy at this point, we're loathe to let him go. He got a cut on his nose a few weeks ago that was right under where the hackamore sits, so ...

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Baby Steps

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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It feels like the horse gods frowned on us for pretty much all of 2016, but as 2017 begins we have been trying to forge ahead in the simplest way possible and just put one foot in front of the other. With so many horses manifesting special needs, we've honestly been feeling overwhelmed. So finally we decided to pick one problem, focus on that, and let the others go for a while. Right now, the simplest and most urgent of our issues is Laredo. He needs to live in an environment different from the one we can offer him, which sadly means he needs to find a new home. None of the challenges with our other horses are in any way time-sensitive. In fact, (fingers crossed) Piper seems to be getting more sound by the week, so here's hoping she stays on that trajectory if we give her enough time. So, Laredo. Our primary objective right now is to get him back into shape. He's very very broke, b...

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Another Year

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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2016 is well and truly over, which is a little hard to believe. And part of the reason for my silence on this blog is things have been tough going for us as far as the horses have been concerned for the last many months. Looking back at my stats, I spent only about 100 hours on horseback this year -- by far the lowest number ever since I've been keeping track. This was mainly because, of our four horses, three have been having major issues. Those issues have been pretty varied, but can be summed up quickly enough.

Piper

Piper still isn't reliably sound. We've got a good farrier who is working with us, and she's much, much, much better than she was. But we're coming to accept she just might not ever make it back to 100%. So we're trying to digest that and figure out what to do with regards to finding her a life where she can thrive as much as possible given her limitations. ...

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Writing about Riding

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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I find myself struggling with this blog lately. Not due to lack of material. We've got plenty going on at the barn lately. This week, we've gone out a couple of times after work. On Tuesday, I rode Buttercup and Brian rode Stormy. Yesterday, I rode Stormy. Brian worked with King and his owner.

King? Buttercup? Stormy? I have not mentioned any of these horses here before. They are not ours, but we're doing some work with them. Which is a bit ironic because we've never set out to position ourselves as expert horsemen. I know my level of skill at riding and handling horses is light-years behind the true masters of horsemanship I aspire to learn from.

And yet, it seems we frequently meet people who are struggling with their horses, and the things they struggle with are things we can easily help with. So we end up helping. And suddenly Brian and I both have multiple s...

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A Navicular Diagnosis

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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When I started Piper in early 2015, she was sound. However, as we moved past the first few rides and got going a little, at times I felt she was a little off at the trot. It was always really hard to pin down, or even be sure of. Some days it was maybe, maybe there. Some days it definitely wasn't. It was never anything as distinct as a limp or a head bob. It was just this feeling I had that her movement was mildly inhibited, or a little hitchy at times. I could always come up with a plausible explanation. She is small, and wasn't yet used to carrying a rider. The sand in our arena is a little deep and uneven in places, so she had to work harder in those spots. She can get tense in new situations, and that leads to choppy or uncertain movement at times.

Horse Wisdom: Taking What the Horse Offers

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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As much as I learn from people on a regular basis, it is always somehow the horse that provides the ultimate wisdom in the moment the lesson really solidifies.

Two rides on Nevada

I thought I had a great ride on Nevada last Saturday, but Sunday's left it in the dust. Nevada and I had the kind of day together that leaves me grinning the whole way home. In the outdoor arena, we got great work done at all three gaits, and also continued our work with lateral movements. The week was busy. We didn't get out to the barn again until Friday. It had rained, but the footing was ok in the outdoor arena, so we rode out there again. The herds had just gotten turned out into the big pasture, which is wonderful, but this kind of change often gives rise to a little extra energy. When I got on Nevada on Friday, she was the most distracted she'd ever been outside - really wanting to st...

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58 vs 580

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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I don't actually know how much time I've spent riding Steen. I started keeping track in 2011, and since then I've spent 580 hours on his back (this doesn't count the riding Brian has done). I can safely say I've spent vastly more time on Steen than any other single horse in my life. Today, when I got off Nevada, I'd logged her 58th hour. That is, Brian has ridden her for 32 hours, I have ridden her for 26. We rode today in the outdoor arena. The footing was a little softer than last time, and Nevada was happy to move out. We did more trotting than usual, which was super nice. She's got a great cadence and usually pretty good energy, but in my experience most horses struggle with motivation when ridden mostly in an indoor arena for months on end. It is so nice to be able to get her out into the world a little.

The Long Spring

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Yesterday we rode outside for the first time since last fall. Usually we manage to get out earlier than this, but conditions were muddy the entire winter (excepting short stretches when it was bitterly cold), which means footing was really bad in all the places we usually ride. Friday afternoon, however, I found myself sitting on Nevada in the outdoor arena, enjoying the feel of the afternoon sun on my skin and the ability to gaze into the distance. It was my first time on Nevada outside of the indoor arena, and only her 3rd of 4th time riding outside in her whole life. I'd already taught my Friday lesson and was feeling a bit worn out from some work drama that unfolded earlier in the day, but we had a nice time mostly working on the basics.

A Different Ratio

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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A few days ago, Brian and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. I got Steen roughly one year before we married, which means I've had Steen almost eight years. In that time, while we've had plenty of other horses as well and I've spent lots of time riding them, I've always spent more time on Steen than everyone else combined. For the moment, that has changed. Here's my riding breakdown for 2016 so far: