do I see what I think I see

Is it true? Do I see what I think I see?? After much pleading, look what Hubby came home with yesterday...

...the start of our own ground poles!! I love (and truly miss) working with ground poles. They are sooo good for sooo many things for both horse and rider. The possibilities of usage are endless, and good for progressive work.
If we had a larger space to work with I would do six poles, three for each side of the arena. But four will work great for the space we have. We'll use them for straight lines, boxes and zigzags, and eventually some elevation....can you tell I am excited?!!

I/we have never made our own. I've always enjoyed others, and used them many different ways - especially when I took riding lessons years ago. More recently we had fun riding the boys over poles at Iron Horse. I know painting the poles helps guide both rider and horse, but wasn't completely sure the best placement. Obviously a center mark, but then where? I did a little research, and found it's a good idea to also mark the ends.

I am also not sure of how far apart to place the poles. They were always set up, spacing had been done by others. More research pulled up various spacing, 4' apart to start, another said 4 1/2' for a walk, 6 1/2' for a trot and 9 1/2' for a canter. I know it depends on the size of the horse. We'll likely figure out how many paces works best for our boys once we try our poles. I can't wait! Now we need to go buy paint...white and maybe red bands? Not sure yet.

Does anyone have a favorite resource on schooling ground pole patterns they can recommend??

I have several patterns in my notes. Everytime I learned a new pattern, I would come home and write it down. I thought one day they might come in handy :)



To say the least, we have been having a terrible time with mosquitos. They are cramping our style. We can't ride out on the trail...what works for you to fend off mosquitos??


the why’s and how’s

I’ve spent a significant amount of time the past couple days thinking about why Koda does what he does, and how to best deal with it.

I’m not sure why he does what he does, other than an excuse to not do things he would rather not do. I always try to give him the benefit of the doubt (read as find an excuse for his behavior), and when that doesn’t work I start doubting myself. Let me ‘splain.

We’ve had a nice stretch of dryer weather. On Monday I expected the worse, having not ridden for an entire week. It was uneventful. We stayed in the pasture/arena and worked some cones etc. Tuesday, Koda was exceptionally good while riding in the arena/pasture. My father-in-law stopped by and watched us ride for a while. I thought for sure Koda would start his annoying “backing-up while trying to mount” new routine, and we would get off on the wrong embarrassing foot. However he had something else to think about besides giving me the business, and stood rock solid. ..I was relieved. Dad didn’t stick around long. Koda held his trot nicely, and was listening good in general. Nemo was riding out and listening well. We decided it would be a good day to head out on the trail. That’s where the fun stopped. So much for relief.

Koda has resorted back to “tripping” something he doesn’t do at the trainers. Patty had said if he is just walking, it’s likely caused by not paying attention. I need to wake him up. I agree, but also wonder if he thinks it might get him out of going where he doesn’t want to go? You would have to see it to understand. We head out on the trail instead of feeding, and he begins to “trip” on nothing. A blade of grass and then oops, another blade of grass. Darn invisible things jump out and trip him! Either that, or it’s a lot of work to lift his legs. No, it’s not neurological. It’s selective. He’s a player, and eventually stops. It was so excessive; I thought perhaps he had a rock stuck in his hoof (excuse)? I found out later, that wasn’t the case. This was just one of those days.

The real issue came when we rounded the corner by the cornfield, and crap – it was the water hole all over again (minus the water). Why is he acting this way? We have been walking by that corner since they were yearlings. We backed, jigged, encouraged, kicked, yanked, spanked, and circled – wow, nothing I tried worked. Many cues later, I’m not sure who was more confused Koda or me. I’m pretty sure it was me. Brad and Nemo tried to help. Let’s just say I was spun up. I had it, and jumped off. Something I don’t necessarily agree with doing. It’s too much like giving in, no – it was giving in. I walked on the ground towing my naughty horse past the dreaded corner, who was suddenly okay with the corner (edit profanity). A young bunny, the size of a real live monster in his eyes – jumped out from under the farm equipment parked on that corner (excuse. really it is, he’s seen plenty of bunnies and farm equipment in his life). With that behind us I hopped back on, and we rode away. He still wasn’t listening very well, and the mosquitoes were getting thick. We turned around, and all rode back down past the dreaded corner going the other way. Koda and I headed back to the pasture but not before riding back up around the barns several times, much to his ornery dissatisfaction. No, I didn’t try the dreaded corner again. I didn’t have it in me. I would try again tomorrow, fully knowing it would be twice as hard…

Nemo and Brad continued riding alone down by the road. Koda got what he earned, he got tied up to wait and watch. You should have seen the look on Koda’s face, as he gazed over the fence at Brad and Nemo. When they came back, Nemo got all the love. I like to believe Koda understood why he didn’t get to go, although he likely didn’t. I know tying him up didn’t serve a purpose, other then to make me feel better. For anyone who thinks it was mean, it was a short time. The horse that deserved the praise, got it. Nemo soaked it up like a sponge.

Wednesday I put my big girl pants on, as well as my helmet. I’ll admit, it’s been years since I wore my helmet. It helped squash my self-doubt. I was going to ride Koda past that dreaded corner, even if it killed me. I was ready. We did the usual warm up-n-ride before heading out. Koda only “tripped” a couple times on the way up, and…we rode past the dreaded corner without any issues. Sigh. Mosquitos were still thick, so we quickly called it good and headed back. Maybe that’s why Koda doesn’t like going up on the trail, who wants to get eaten alive? (excuse) We continued our ride together along the highway. Koda and Nemo crossed the small mud puddle, and rode along the mushy hillside. When we returned, Nemo had to share the love. Koda even got a little extra.

All this still leaves me wondering why? and how? does Koda do what he does - there must be an excuse, I just can’t think of one at the moment ;)


squeaked one in

It's been almost a week since I've been able to ride for different reasons, mostly Mother Nature related. Southern WI got hit with a storm that flooded our pasture more than usual. It's just been too damn wet to ride anywhere at our place. At least we were able to squeak in a trail ride before the storm hit.

The four of us headed out to brave the mosquitos in the heat of the mid-day sun.
Koda & Nemo did pretty good considering we haven't ridden out in the open for a while. We did have to stop more than once to get the biting nasty's off their face, but there were less pests to swat in the field. The ride ended with a trip along the highway, further than we have ever been. Thankfully the random bubble wrap didn't seem to faze them. Koda got a little anxious when we seperated and headed back home without Brad and Nemo. We circled a couple times, he didn't have a choice, before heading back home. I'm only willing to go as far as the steep hill starts, and the grassy area starts to narrow. It gets too close to the busy highway. They joined us shortly thereafter. Once the crops are down, we should be able to ride all the way up to and around the fields that surround our house - far away from the highway.

Looks like a dry day today, maybe it will be enough for a slow ride tonight? Hope everyone is enjoying their horses!


another opportunity

We've been enjoying a solid week plus of riding in dryer weather, even during the recent heat, until a big storm rolled through the area dumping buckets of water. The good news is it cooled things off. The bad news is the small wooded pasture area doesn't drain correctly, the northwest corner floods, leaving us with standing water.

We have only begun to remedy the situation. You may recall Brad and the boy who doesn't like horses recently started removing tree stumps leftover from the power line destruction. We have hopes of turning the open area into grass pasture. Believe it or not, it's already an improvement. We really don't ride much in that area anyways, for obvious reasons. Only one way to look at it in it's current condition, it's another opportunity to work with Koda and his muddy water crossing!


mission accomplished

We do own ladders, but what fun would that be?

Koda didn't think there was anything fun about a Brad in a tree. He was more interested in poking around in the dirt.

Until the tree climb didn't work and Brad climbed the fence instead to try removing the annoying branch, that got Koda's attention. He was right there trying to help, as usual.

He found out why we didn't want him so close; cracking/falling branches are scary.

Nemo watched from a safe distance, until the mission was accomplished. No more branch-in-the-face when riding in the arena!


pluueeze turn around

We set posts around the arena today. No more supervising for me, it was time to dig in. Nemo & Koda were simply adorable, and loved the human activity around the pasture. I didn't work so hard that I couldn't take a few pictures, the boys were so curious...

eye see u nemo

whaaat, i'm just licking it!

are you sure there isn't anything to eat?

pluueeze turn around, it would make mom happy. besides, we know you love us!!

late evening trail ride

Brad and the boy who doesn't like horses have been working hard this weekend down at the farm fixing things up. Yesterday they dug out and hauled no less than 14 large tree stumps left over from the power line destruction, I mean improvement, at the west end of the pasture. We had already cleaned it up once (by hand) before the trees got cut a while back. Frustrating. Anywho, let me add it's been a hot and humid weekend - and I'm thankfull for the hard working boys and machinery in my life.

Everything was running late, and this was looking like unplanned day number three off for Koda & Nemo. However, Brad and I decided to give them a quick warm-up and go for it. We headed out for a late evening trail ride. What were we thinking? We wanted to get our ride in b
efore the jets sore, and the gigantic not-so-far midwest fireworks display events begin.

Everything looks different close to dusk. The familiar path had bears in the woods, at least that's what Koda thought. Hubby reminded me, we really do have bears (sited recently in the subdevelopment across the highway). Regardless, we rode all the way up into the big hay field, and around. The only scary thing we saw was four bounding deer, and some crane - if you call that scary. Nemo & Koda were on high alert. They eventually calmed down. It was all good. We were proud of our boys. Not only was it odd lighting and past dinner time, there were weird firecracker sounds in the sky.


outdoor arena

Last night while we waited for the farrier to arrive, Brad and the boy who doesn't like horses worked on the outdoor arena. Because we don't own the property, we are putting up a structure that we can take with us and fixing up the little that already exists. Brad and the boy made good progress taking down posts, replacing rotting wood, putting up new board panels and realigning the metal panels from the round pen. I supervised (read as asked a lot of questions) and took photos. Not a bad job.


We are almost done. We have to buy a few more panels, and then haul in sand (hopefully a non-issue). The arena won't be as long as I had hoped, but should be a nice area to work the horses.

Koda loves being by the boy who doesn't like horses, and tried to help.The boy wasn't amused. Koda didn't care, as long as he gets to be by him. The boy should be so lucky. I took advantage of the koda(k) moment and got my favorite picture from last night, see below.

july 1 back pasture fotos



barbie (resident pony), nemo and koda all love the back pasture, it's not huge - but it's lush!


the honeymoon is over

Wasn't Koda's best night last night, the honeymoon is officially over. I knew it was going to be an off night when he didn't come up to greet us - and it wasn't. It was one thing after another. He didn't do anything terrible, but did a lot of things he doesn't normally do. First time I've ever seen him step away from fly spray, he usually welcomes getting sprayed.

I thought things would improved because he lunged really well for me, they didn't. I don't think he was feeling 100%, but that doesn't warrant being naughty. I'll give him sluggish, but not naughty. I noticed his poop was on the wet side. He even had a little watery squirt, before everything went back to solid.
Sorry for the visual. Anyone who is not a horse person would find that disgusting, but the rest of us know poop tells all.

Koda fussed putting his bridle on (no surprise there, he hates that thing) and stepped away during mounting. He usually stands like a rock.
He even backed the first time I asked him to trot, and wasn't listening well in general. Koda was acting like a bratty colt, especially when Brad opened the gate and Nemo left the pasture to ride around. Much to his demise, we didn't.

He did end up doing everything I asked, including crossing the large mud puddle the long mucky way. We ended on a good note.
But I still didn't want to take him out on a trail ride. It was a huge bummer. I sooo wanted to go back and ride in that rolling field, but not with a snotty horse. I felt bad for Nemo, he was such a good boy and deserved to go. At least he got to ride around the outside of the pasture exploring, while I dealt with Mr. grumpy. The weather in WI is perfect right now, we don't get many days like we've had this week...and the heat is on it's way. Oh well. The most frustrating part to me is his d*%! backing. He can't back up every time he doesn't want to do something, or finds it scary. I mean really, who wants to go through life backwards - not me! The farrier comes tonight, so the boys will get the night off of riding. I'll try again tomorrow, and hope for a better ride - so maybe we can hit the trail?!