Easy on the Eyes

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Weekend

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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This week was certainly the most horseless one I've had since my purchase of Steen a month and a half ago. When I arrived at the stable on Saturday, my main goal was to do some ground work and attempt to take a step in the right direction in getting him used to the spray bottle. I did both of these things, but Steen seemed pretty distracted and nervous through the whole thing, and I was a little worried that leaving him alone four days out of five was going to put me back a few big steps.

But today I went out just wanting a nice, enjoyable ride, and I got just that. Steen was good while I tacked him up, good with the few ground things we did and he was just great under saddle. After I rode I fiddled around with the spray bottle some more, but didn't push it too much. Regardless, he seemed less afraid of it today than he was yesterday, so that's a good sign.

...

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A Lag, and Mud

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Early this week I let Steen go two days in a row without seeing me - something I had not yet done since I bought him. I could have gone on Monday, but I just didn't feel like getting in the car and driving out there after work. I figure the whole point of having a horse is to enjoy it, so I shouldn't set the stage for making the whole thing into an obligation.

On Tuesday, of course, I spent the afternoon at my other barn.

So, yesterday I headed for the stable feeling more than ready to see my noble steed again. Unfortunately, the off-lever on the Iowa rain spout is apparently broken, and it is just wet wet wet around here. Since Steen has the unfortunate gene often associated with primarily white horses that makes him roll in the mud whenever possible, he was more than a little dirty when I arrived. Beyond that, the vet was there doing a few things to Cathi'...

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Company

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Yesterday my friend Katherine accompanied me to the stable. She was curious to meet Steen and excited to get out on such a nice day, so we took the scenic route out there and then I showed her around. She hasn't been around horses much since her childhood, but Steen was very polite and clearly on his best behavior. He stood like a dream while she brushed him, took carrots from her like a regular gentleman, and when I showed her how to do basic leading exercises, he followed her along perfectly - all willingness and relaxation.

I rode him as well, and he remained extremely calm and responsive the whole time. He's getting better about understanding that leg pressure means turn, not go faster (at least when he's not distracted and excited) and he's continually showing greater interest in people in general. The farrier really liked him because every time he stood up, Steen ...

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Horse-Eating Fly Spray

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Yesterday was a busy day. I woke up and hung out with Brian for a while, then said good-bye and headed for the stable so I could get a ride in before work. Shortly thereafter, he left to spend a few days in Kansas.

I arrived at the barn just after a significant thunderstorm had rolled through, so Steen was a little wet. I took him inside and noticed he was swishing his tail at some flies. I brushed him down and pulled out my all natural fly spray. I squirted some on his leg, and he freaked out.

Given his behavior in the past, I assumed this was like other things. He just needed to be persuaded it wasn't going to hurt him, and the best way to accomplish this was by forging ahead. So, I kept spraying him. He kept trying to barge past me into the barn aisle, but I kept pushing him back.

Aft...

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Seated

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Yesterday after I got home from the gallery I had some web work to do, so I stayed at the house a little later than usual before heading out to the stable. As I have mentioned, the later I get there, the higher my chances of running into other people. Heather pulled in shortly after I arrived, but as I like her and her horse and she doesn't use the same tack-up area as I do, this was just fine with me.

Steen was really good. He is almost completely perfect at standing now, and he preemptively lifted three of his hooves for me to pick. On his last hoof, however, he swiveled off before I could get to it. I scolded him lightly, put him back where he'd been and he gave me no further trouble.

I rode indoors again due to continued rain. The only things Cathi told me not to do when she was showing me around the stable were make big messes and not clean them up, an...

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Settling In

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Meryl stayed one week and in that time she helped me make a lot of progress with Steen. Yesterday I went out alone for the first time in many days and we had a very mellow, enjoyable ride. He is getting friendlier, and quirkier with the little things he does when I'm not riding him. I think we're well on our way to becoming good friends.

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Forward Motion

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
Well, it has been quite the week for Steen. For one thing, he officially turned eight yesterday. For another, it appears his bucking days are over.

It has been very handy having Meryl here at this juncture. She's had something I've lacked for the last six years - her own horse. And not just any horse, but Jak, who Steen's personality resembles in many ways. She has been an indispensable help with this. Fearlessly, Meryl went out to ride Steen on Tuesday alone since I could not go due to my two jobs that day. Since he performed so beautifully indoors on Monday, she took him outside only to discover the bit alone didn't render quite as thorough a transformation as we'd hoped. In short, after behaving quite well for a while, he tried to throw her in precisely the same way he threw me after she didn't allow him to go to the part of the arena from which he can see the re...

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