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Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Two Sundays in a row now, Brian has gone out to the barn with me. Last Sunday on the way out we stopped at a tack shop to pick up a new headstall to go with Steen's new bit - a Myler loose-ring snaffle with nice big rings and bent mouth-pieces. It is a lot like the one I've been using on him, just a good deal higher quality. The new headstall possesses a throat-latch, which I think is quite helpful for keeping everything in place and helping queues come across consistently.

Now with the new headstall and bit, I think I can safely say I am completely content with Steen's tack. It is amazing how long a process it is to get all set up in a way that works flawlessly for both horse and rider.

So, today Brian and I had a beautiful day, good equipment, and ample time. We started the day off with a little ground-work since Steen seemed a little antsy right when we t...

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Cruisin’

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Well, it's now been three months since Steen came into my life and although he's still a long ways from dead broke, he's a more and more relaxing horse to be around every day. His ground manners are approaching excellent, and everything else is slowly improving as well.

Lately we have been doing an exercise I found in Clinton Anderson's book, Downunder Horsemanship, called "cruising." The point of this exercise is to get the horse to relax under saddle - something Steen has sorely needed to do for a while. Before reading Anderson's book, it often occurred to me that the philosophy of pulling on a horse's mouth to make it slow down seemed a little backwards in cases where a horse is agitated and inclined to fight the bit. With Steen, and with many other horses I have ridden, pulling on the mouth will cause the horse to slow down -...

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Rotten

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Moisture, I've concluded, is a mixed bag. Sure, water brings life - but is it always desirable life? In Arizona, our horses can't get all their food from grass grown in their very own pastures, but they also aren't constantly battling parasites. Here in the midwest, everything is wet and rich and the environment is absolutely laced with little organisms that want to make Steen's body their home. He's had a mild case of thrush since before I got him, but this at least I had encountered before. Lately, however, he's developed a rough, sensitive area on his neck and, after keeping an eye on it for a few days, I asked Cathi about it. "Rain rot," she said, and went on to explain it is a fungishish thing that crops up on livestock in warm and humid environments. It is not serious, but can be very uncomfortable for the horse. So I smeared an iodine solution all over Steen's pretty wh...

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Grand Visitors

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Steen and I had to part ways for quite a while while I took a trip to Arizona via Chicago and Brian's sister's wedding on the way back. Luckily, Brian stepped up to the plate and went to visit our poor lonely horse twice while I was gone. Cathi also brought Steen in from the pasture when the farrier came so he could get his feet trimmed.

I finally made it out to see him again on Wednesday. Initially, I could tell our relationship was a little rusty, but on the whole he was quite well-behaved. I didn't ride him, but did quite a lot of ground-work and before long I felt things were well back on track between us. He was good, and happy to do everything I asked him, including walking down the scary hallway where the manure spreader used to be.

Then, yesterday, Brian's parents were in town for a visit, so I took them out to meet their grandhorse. Steen was total...

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Padded

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Today I spent several hours at the stable with Steen. It is windy today, and that had him a bit riled up. Also, I can tell I haven't been spending as much time with him lately. He was just a bit more inclined to be fussy today than he has been in a while, although he didn't do anything bad, by any means. And he's back to accepting the bit without the slightest protest, so I count that as a good thing.

The best news, however, is that although the start of my day with him was a bit frustrating due to a very extended grooming session born of his filthiness (it has been rainy and muddy again) and then the utter failure of the first of my two potential corrective saddle-padding solutions, it rapidly turned around when my second attempt succeeded. While educating myself about saddle-fit, I read that some pads can actually cause saddles to sit incorrectly, and I came across ...

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Bareback

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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I have been having some trouble with Steen's saddle - mainly as his shape changed with his new lifestyle of working out a lot and unlimited access to fresh grass, it stopped fitting him correctly. I have been reading and researching and think I've found a way to fix the problem, which required the purchase of a new pad. The pad, of course, could not be found locally, so I had to order it off the internet and wait.

So, the last couple weeks have not been as Steen heavy as the earlier ones. I have still been going out consistently and doing ground-work and grooming and hanging out, but not riding. Yesterday, however, I just couldn't wait any longer. We got another couple of severe storms, so it was too wet to work outside. I decided to take advantage of the reduced number of variables in my environment and ride bareback indoors.

I have not been riding Steen b...

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Video 2

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
Here is another not particularly exciting video of Steen. This one features Brian, and backing.

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Easy on the Eyes

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
Brian came with me to the stable again today. The sun was out and the day was beautiful so we seized the opportunity to take some new photos. Brian ventured into the pasture all by himself to get Steen, who seemed happy to see him. And what girl wouldn't love to see her guy and her horse getting along so well?. Read more

Reroutes and New Riders

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
Things are a bit nuts in Iowa City, but I've managed to make it out to the stable the last two days anyway. I really have nothing to complain about as far as being affected by the flooding goes - I still have a home and a job and a safe place to keep my horse. However, since I can now only cross the river at one point, my route to Steen has changed. The blue line on the above map represents the way I normally take to Steen. According to google, it is 15.1 miles long and takes 27 minutes. In my experience, this is very close to the truth. Read more

Going Strong

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
In spite of the massive flooding that has shut down much of Iowa City, I made it out to Steen today. I have cut back some on the frequency of my visits, but Steen stays responsive and friendly.

Today Steen stood (albeit nervously) while I sprayed him with a water bottle - so very good progress there. I also got him a loose-ring snaffle bit (no shanks) and think I am going to ride him with that from now on. I have been working on his flexibility, and disengaging his hindquarters from the ground, and he's continued to go nicely under saddle.

In related exciting news, Brian got a pair of cowboy boots, so he's going to start putting in some time at the stable too.

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