More Youngsters

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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We spent Saturday with more young ones - this time of the human variety. Brian's sister came to visit, bringing along her husband and their two children. Their son is three and a half, and their daughter is just one. We, of course, had to take them out to meet the horses. We had beautiful weather, and the horses were out on the grass. Steen and Laredo were happy to come in and get some extra attention. It's funny. With Bear gone and Steen coming 14 this year, he's starting to seem like the old guy of the group. Fortunately, he and Laredo are both quiet enough to be very safe around the kiddos. We said hi to Oliver and Aiden in the pasture, but we didn't bring them in.
The pony rides went well. I rode around with Gaby in front ...

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Another Girl

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Today, we bought a horse. Yes. Another one. It was kind of an accident. The plan was to just go visit the breeder we got Laredo from, and see what he had in terms of unstarted two-years-olds. The plan was we'd look them over and hang out with them a little, and then maybe go back in the fall and pick one out. I guess we should have known better. Things did not go according to plan. This morning we purchased this little girl:
When we sent Bear to Miracles in Motion, we thought Brian might click with either Oliver or Aiden and take one of them into the role of his primary horse. But while they're both really super ni...

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The Summer Groove

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Summer seems to be finally here in earnest. I got out to the barn multiple times during the week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.) Which was good because it means Aiden didn't get the whole week off.
 No, of course I am not looking at my phone while sitting on a horse I've owned less than two months with the reins draped over the horn. Who would do such a thing?
This weekend we rode all our horses both days. Saturday I had a really great ride on Aiden. We went out to the tree pasture for the first time. Brian and I have been watching a video series produced by the Eclectic Horseman called Read more

A Good Gallop

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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We spent the weekend out of town. We went with Brian's fabulous parents to the Kentucky Derby. In spite of the rather mixed feelings I have about the horse racing industry, it was definitely a fun weekend. Today, I headed out to the barn alone in the afternoon. I found a very filthy Steen.  His feet were basically pure mud blocks. I spent a long time grooming him, and had to spray his legs off with the hose to even get him passably clean. I was pretty tired, and wasn't sure I had the mental focus to work on anything super demanding and specific. So I took Steen out into the big pasture and we just moved around a lot. We trotted and cantered all over the hills and along the fencelines. I worked on an exercise Martin Black likes, which is basically just cantering in a really big circle while trying to keep the horse's nose tipped in and their back and jaw soft. Steen was in a r...

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My Summer String

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
We've been in a pretty good rhythm with the horses. Work's been busy for me, so I haven't been getting out a lot during the week, but we've been getting really great weekend rides. I've been focusing on Steen and Aiden. Aiden seems sound now, so I've been working on just getting into a good groove with the basics. He continues to be super friendly, and every ride we have a few more things working for us. I'm getting more and more comfortable on him.
Today, I felt like I finally had the back end totally in hand for the first time. It's taken some work with both Aiden and Oliver to get them consistently stepping under behind without dribbling forward or squirting to the side. Today I managed to get Aiden to step over behind without ...

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Steen in the Two-Rein

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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It's been a little while since I rode Steen in the two-rein, and I feel like I've addressed a lot of the weaknesses riding in it last brought to light for me. On Tuesdays, I have my lessons with my student, J. She's been riding with me for close to a year now, but we've had some big breaks during that time. Lately, she's been coming out consistently again. I've had her riding Laredo, and she's really clicking with him. It's actually pretty fantastic to see your student and the horse you've trained getting along so well. Last week, J had her best lesson by a wide margin, and her progress got me thinking about my progress. Usually during her lessons, I pretty much just sit on Steen and watch, occasionally using him to demonstrate some maneuver or other. It occurred to me that one of the things Steen needs in terms of us settling into the two-rein is time. He just needs to get used to...

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Getting to Know Aiden

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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Now that Brian and I have four horses again, we're settling into a rhythm. We've divided our guys into 'strings' for the time being. I'm going to be working with Steen and Aiden for a chunk of time, while Brian is primarily in charge of Laredo and Oliver. I rode Aiden for the first time since his abscess the weekend before last. We did a light ride in the indoor arena, and things felt pretty good. Then he ended up getting a week off. This last weekend, though, it was time to get back to work in earnest. I rode him both Saturday and Sunday. Overall, things went quite well. Now that he's accustomed to his environment and not in pain, Aiden is proving to be even more laid back than we thought. In fact, this weekend with the sun and the exercise, he was actually a little low energy. Both Oliver and Aiden are interesting in that most of the time they are pretty good about yielding...

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Farewell to Bear

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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It's been hard to bring myself to write this post, so I have been putting it off. We recently came to a difficult decision. Bear has moved on to a new home. He is now in the hands of the good people at Miracles in Motion - the therapeutic riding program where I volunteered some years ago. This change is the result of a year and a half of monitoring Bear's health and happiness. While it seems he thrives in light work, too much or inconsistent riding leaves him a little off. It's not a focused kind of problem - not a particular sore spot or definable issue. It's more of a general overall, mild distress that seems to crop up and leave, then reappear at irregular intervals. It's easy for us to over-work him. A ride that is fine for him one week will leave him uncomfortable the next. Or, sometimes, he'll get a week off and come in seeming down and uncomfortable. We were struggling wi...

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A Slow Spring

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
It's been a really busy 10 days or so. For the first week after draining Aiden's abscess, we unwrapped, soaked, flushed, and rewrapped it every day. That was a lot, because it meant going to the barn every night, even if Brian and I both worked long days. Plus, this (naturally) coincided with Brian being out of town overnight for work, me working extra hours to wrap up and launch two large projects, and me catching a cold. After five days or so, we moved Aiden from the stall to the side pen. On Tuesday, we removed the wrap entirely and put him back in the side pen. Fortunately, the ground out there is dry. He'll get dusty, but the healing wound shouldn't get packed with mud or manure or anything very nasty. He's stopped favoring the foot entirely, and it seems to be well into the mending process. Hopefully we don't see any backsliding.

Foxtails and an Abscess

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
It seems to be a pattern that we end up calling the vet shortly after getting a new horse. This time around is turned out to be no exception. As we mentioned, Aiden was a little off on the right hind when farrier saw him on Wednesday. We checked in with him on Thursday and Friday, and he seemed to be doing better. But then on Saturday, Brian's parents came for a visit. They were curious to meet our new horses, so they drove over from Chicago to spend Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning with us. We schemed about getting all four of us on horseback at once. Except, yeah, that didn't happen. We got to the barn, and I immediately noticed that the bale full of foxtails had not been replaced. Worse, the other bale was almost gone. The herd does avoid the foxtail bales if they have a choice, but when there's nothing else to eat, they'll eat the bad hay. We went into the past...

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