Soggy Ground

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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We've been getting more rain here. Unfortunately, rain means a soggy outdoor arena, and to preserve the grass out there, barn rules tell us to ride indoors when it is wet. I left work on Wednesday feeling a little bummed about this. The indoor arena is not bad - it is just smaller, dustier, less scenic and less... outside. However, during my drive I came up with a way to make it less boring. When I got to the barn, I brushed Steen, picked his feet, and led him into the arena. After a bit of ground-work, I put his bridle on, and hopped on bareback.

I hadn't ridden bareback in quite a while, and so it was a very nice change. The one thing I still haven't managed to recreate here in Iowa is the freedom of riding I used to enjoy in Tucson. Wednesday's ride wasn't quite as good as heading out my parent's gate to enjoy the wealth of trails at my immediate disposal, but i...

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Friday Evening at the Barn

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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After we both spent the day at work, Brian and I decided to head out the barn for a little evening ride. Due to Steen's continued shoulder infection, I have been out to treat it every day this week, and since I've been out there every day anyway, why not ride, right? The result of a whole week of daily work has definitely made a change in Steen. He is completely mellow on all the ground and grooming stuff now, and he has made definite progress relaxing under saddle. I have been making a point not to ask too much of him when I'm riding so he can be less nervous, and also to spend more time on his back doing various silly things while he stands still to help him learn he doesn't always have to move his feet. Read more

Grain, Clover, Trims, Wormings and Rides

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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On Saturday I picked up some grain on my way to the barn so I can start feeding some to Steen in hopes of helping him bulk up just a little more before it starts to get cold. Steen seems pretty happy about this decision too. I arrived at the stable with my spoils, fetched Steen from the pasture, got him inside and immediately started to worry. He's been intermittently doing this thing where he'll just spit out huge mouthfuls of water, or drool like a bloodhound. On Saturday, the quantity of water coming from his mouth was so great that it alarmed me considerably, and I started to envision terrible scenarios involving extreme dehydration...

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Tag Team

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.

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Here is another not particularly exciting video of Steen. This one features Brian, and backing.

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