A Trunk Full of Tack

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Yesterday I left my house at 8:00 AM and didn't return until 5:30 PM. In between it was quite the day. I arrived at the barn shortly after the crew had rolled off with the first load of horses, as I knew Steen was going in the second load. I pulled up, parked and first cleaned out my tack locker, which fortunately wasn't all that hard as I've tried to keep it pretty clean. I loaded everything in my car except Steen's nylon halter, grooming bucket, groundwork stuff (rope, stick, rope-halter) and bridle. Then I went and got Steen, and brought him inside. He was good while I groomed him and we went to the arena and did a fair amount of groundwork. Then I hopped on for a short bareback walk and trot ride. I'd have gone longer, but it was a hot, humid day and the indoor arena was heating up like a sauna. Also, the effects of my watering had expired and it was super dusty in there again....

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Third Gear

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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I've had a good week of trips to the barn, in spite of lots of rain and sogginess. Tuesday it stormed all morning, but Wednesday I went out in the AM and found Steen covered in mud but other than that in a pretty amiable state.

I watered down the indoor arena before my ride because it was really dry, I had plenty of time and there is nothing like breathing fine dust to make me want to cut my ride short. It was well worth the effort. After a little groundwork, Steen treated me to one of the best rides we've ever enjoyed together. He was calm and responsive at the walk, his trot was relaxed (if a tad reluctant at first) and when I asked him to lope, he picked up the correct lead and held it through quite a few laps around the arena, going at a nice, smooth pace and seeming even to enjoy himself somewhat. Then I asked him to stop and he did, and other than walking a littl...

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Back on Track

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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I headed out to the barn again this morning looking forward to the prospect of a nice ride. Once there, however, I began to doubt I would get one. Steen and the herd were way, way out at the end of the biggest pasture, and Steen didn't seem at all disposed to come meet me at the gate today. He waited until I was near the edge of the herd before making his way over the me. I put his halter on, and started back up to the gate. He walked along fine at first, but after a moment he stopped. I looked back and saw he was adding some manure to help fertilize the pasture. Naturally, I let him finish with that, and afterwards we started walking again. But we only made it about a third of the way back across the pasture when he stopped again. I looked back, but he wasn't doing anything other than apparently deciding he didn't want to follow me. Now, this is something he used to do, lik...

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A Break

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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After my last ride on Steen I guess I was feeling a little unmotivated to get back out there and deal with all his new-found energy. He's been back-sliding a bit this spring, and I know it's because I've been lazy with the ground-work all winter and we've gotten to be quite buddy-buddy. Which is fine to a point but when the pendulum swings too far in that direction, it need to come back a little with the message, "Yes, we're friends but also, I'm the boss."

So, between that and knowing Steen's whole world is going to change so soon, and some other things going on in my life, I took two weeks off from the barn. This wasn't really intentional. It just happened. And by the end of those two weeks I wasn't feeling daunted by the task of going out there and putting in my time any more. I was missing Steen.

I knew the farrier was scheduled to come today, and I did...

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What’s Coming Up

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Yesterday was a nice sunny day so I headed out to see Steen in the late morning. Upon arrival I noticed a few things out of the ordinary. 1) There was a horse trailer backed up in front of the garage. 2) There was a semi backed up in front of the house.

This wasn't a total shock to me. The barn I board at has been for sale since before I came to board there, and recently the owner, Cathi, indicated to us boarders that they had an interested party. Cathi and her husband, fortunately, are only moving to the other side of town to be near her husband's family land, (they farm) and they are building a new facility out there which will be much the same as the current one except half the distance from town and with access to trails.

In my head this whole change was going to take place in the fall. Yesterday, I learned everything is going to move along much faster...

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Plump Rump

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Here is a good photo of how round Steen is getting.

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Never a Dull Moment

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Yesterday I had an interesting trip to the barn. We'd had rain so it was a little muddy, but Steen came to the gate to meet me when I went down to the pasture and we went inside.

While I groomed him, I was really pleased with how he looked. His spine is finally a canyon along his back instead of a ridge. He's not fat, but he seems to fill out visibly between each of my visits to the barn, mostly growing muscle. I don't know if he's just had a lot of catching up to do in the last year and he's finally reached "healthy," or if he did have a parasite all along and the barn-wide aggressive worming program finally got that under control. Whatever the reason, though, he looks good, which makes me feel good.

I decided I've been a bit lax about my groundwork lately and should get back in the habit of doing it, so when I finished saddled up we went to the indoor aren...

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My Sister and My Horse, Act II

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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My lovely little sister came out for a visit last week, almost exactly a year after her first time visiting us in Iowa. Last time she was here, Steen and I were still working out the particulars of our relationship. Since her initial visit, Steen and I have learned a lot about each other, though honestly I have done at least as much learning as he has. Meryl and I went to the barn a few times in the week she was here. The first time we rode indoors, and he was so good for her it nearly made my heart burst. Sure, he's still got his quirks. Standing isn't his strong point, and his trot is fast when he's nervous, but he's become so much softer all around, and although he was uncertain ...

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Balance

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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It's been an interesting week at the barn. On Sunday the weather was great, and I went out to see Steen with the intention of finally riding in one of the pastures. The herd is now free of the mud lot, and I found Steen and his buddies grazing in the field I had intended to ride in. No big deal, thought I, we'll ride in the middle pasture, around the pond. When I arrived at the pasture gate the whole herd galloped over. Spring fever, I guess. I extracted Steen, took him inside to tack him up, and then took him back outside.

Our ride around the pasture was mostly a success. The biggest difficultly was the terrain is uneven and the grass is high right now, so it was hard to trust the footing. Also, there were horses in the pasture on each side and Steen was curious about these herds. Add this to the fact that there is no path in the pasture and I didn't have a partic...

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Thrush and Broadening Horizons

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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It was a lovely weekend of sunshine and warm temperatures. Saturday was Duke day. Steen got his feet trimmed, and I had Duke take a look at the frog on his right-front, which recently shed out in a way that worried me a little - too deep in the back. Duke agreed it looks like he's got some thrush in there, so I get to add koppertox to my typical routine. But, the good news is Steen doesn't seem sore and Duke said it is probably nothing to worry about, and all three other feet look great. He did suggest in the future treating with koppertox preventatively whenever the ground gets wet. Which means pretty much always in Iowa...

I also talked to my barn owner about riding in the pastures, and she said go for it. I have been wanting to find a way to expand Steen's horizons for a while, but there aren't exactly trails or public land near where I board, and also I feel like...

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