Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Blog Post: Granite at Camp : Entry One

Guest Blog Post from Jen
Granite at Camp…Entry One May13, 2012

Hello to all of Rachel and Granite’s blogger friends!  Granite successfully arrived at summer camp yesterday.  I want to share with you my experience with him…and that is selfish because this experience is about him!  But considering the situation, I am finding that this is an amazing gift to me. Thank you Rachel!

Rachel shared in her last blog that my sweet old man Maverick was sick…well after 6 days of major sickness he was finished with the fight, we euthanized him on Friday morning.  Absolutely devastating to me, amazing the way the 4 legged critters get under our skin!  I still hurt, still feel a tremendous emptiness and will for a long time but let me tell you how much I love Granite and how he can fill a void!

I also owe Rachel and tremendous amount of gratitude for sharing her amazing guy.  The plan was in the works before Maverick got sick but as it all unraveled the timing and the plan worked out perfect…Granite and Rachel are saving my life right now…I LOVE both of them (no Rachel, I’m not drunk, I love you when I’m sober! LOL)

So my new friends…here is the update!

Friday night I hooked up the trailer and pulled it into the driveway to find a shredded trailer tire…OH CRAP are you kidding me?  My amazing husband Scott can fix anything and put the spare on in less than 30 seconds…then got up early and went tire hunting for another spare for our trip to Granite’s home…a local look didn’t give him the tire he wanted for the right money so he said…I’m going to take you over there…since I had no spare that was a really good thing.  He also felt sorry for me cuz I had a major sobbing melt down over Maverick the night before.  Great Man!

So off to get Granite…had a great visit with Yvonne, Rachel’s barn owner, she is AMAZING and the critters at this farm are equally amazing!  They are so well cared for and loved.  What a great place!...Maybe to great…Granite was reluctant to get on the trailer, but he doesn’t have much experience.  (I have a trailer…it will be parked in Granite’s turn out area and he will eat in it!  We will get him past that!)

Granite is a wise man…he was thinking why do I want to leave here when I have it so good…brilliant boy!  Nothing was crazy, just required a lot of coaxing, babying and patience and he got on…of course, good boy!!  The funny part of this and I hope you all can envision this…Yvonne had the leadrope and was in the trailer working the front, I was gentle support behind…there were a lot of sugar cubes, carrots, grain (Total bribery to the horse that will eat himself sick….) At one point I looked at Scott and said Yvonne needs another carrot so being the amazing patient hubs that he is (that is so NOT in to horses) he brought another carrot…held it outside the escape door, because Granite was half way on and made G come to the carrot.  At one point…Granite’s head was out the escape door looking for the carrot and his to hind feet were at the middle of the ramp.  That boy stretched himself like a slinky…I was howling!  I hope you all can picture that!

OK…boy on, had a great trip to High Point and my barn.  He got off a lot faster than he got on, translation…to fast…we will work on that.

Turned him out and he was the chill monster.  He was fine.  The three horses at my barn were the peanut gallery staring at him and wondering where the heck he came from.  Since Pickle tore up her stifle a year ago there has not been much coming and going, they are easily entertained.

After about an hour he started running which stressed me out.  Is he lonely? Is he stressed?  He could see the other horses but was turned out alone so I lured the goat out to be with him.  Thought he needed company.  Well G was happy for the company and chased the goat who is 3 times wide as she is tall, he was playing, she…not so much. She is still limping from the run!

Time to bring G in…saved the goat and brought Granite in…let him chill in the stall for about and hour with hay and fans.  Called Yvonne…and just asked about the daytime thing and she confirmed he was a weenie ( sorry Rachel) about the bugs…I have a Cadillac version of a fly sheet…it fit great so he went back out with the fly sheet and did great with the relief!

We left him in a stall last night decided better to be safe than sorry and he did fine!  He is actually in Pickle’s stall (my horse with the stifle injury)…all the stalls are connected to turn out, so she was out and he was in her space. OMG friends…I don’t know if this blog is G rated or not but they were disgusting…she immediately acted like she was in heat (winking/squirting) and Granite….well I will just say he is well endowed!

Nuff said! J  Night went fine…turned Granite out this morning to stretch his legs after being in the stall all night and got on him about 11 for his first ride at camp.  He wasn’t perfect and I didn’t expect him to be but he was perfect for a 5 year old that was at a new place and had only been there for 24 hours. 

He was very forward…did I mention my ring is just a field, no fence?  So we just hacked…didn’t ask for much we just worked, zigged, zagged, serpentines and circles… I cantered one time around in each direction but everything else was trot work.  After about 45 mins he finally chilled, got soft and bent to the right.  We quit at that very moment!

Cooled him down, turned him out and not long after I turned him out he laid down, flat on his side for a 10 minute power nap.  This kid kills me…he is hilarious!

Love him, love his mother, love his mothers boyfriend and dog too…Just an amazing crowd of perfectness….Rachel is really hard on herself but the rest of us realize she is brilliant, beautiful, sweet, compassionate and totally amazing!  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Slight Change of Plans

Jen's pupper is still really sick, so we are postponing Granite's trip to camp. I'll be out of town with family this weekend, but she may come by and whisk Grnaite away while I am gone if it works out for her, or we may just wait until one evening next week to load him up. Either way, priority one is the health of her dog and I know my mind would be NO WHERE else if Daphne were as sick as Maverick is. Life deals some pretty unfair cards at times. Jen is the last person who should have to go through his. Thus is life with animals I guess.

I did get to ride again yesterday. Granite was awesome! Our canter transitions are really improving. He seems to be really enjoying the jumping. We schooled over our little fences, maybe jumping 5-8 times in all. He was so pumped about it. He was energetic and I had to do a lot of half-haulting to get him to mind me for the remainder of our flat work. I love to see that he seems to be enjoying it. I'm still amazed at how a simple change in perspective (and bit) can completely alter my riding experience and outlook on my animal.

Also, yesterday we had a new visitor at the barn. A college student who works for me happens to be a horseless rider. She, very much like I did about 5 years ago, went off to college and had to forfeit her horse. She used to show jumpers in the northeast, apparently. We happen to have quite a few under-utilized equines at my little farm (Granite usually being one of them, but since he is going to camp, I wanted to wait to offer her some rides on him). We have one obese little pony in particular who REALLY needs the exercise, so I got her in contact with my (amazing) barn owner. I know it could be dicey with her being my employee and all, so I tried to set her up with an opportunity and then let it go. It worked! She called the barn owner and they scheduled for her to come out last night and ride the obese pony (we are talking very large pony... 14.1... and SOLID). I don't know how it went. I was there, but was packing for Granite's trip to camp and trying to give her her space with my barn owner. But I'm really excited to be able to facilitate a horseless college student's ability to get back in a saddle. I had a benevolent fairy horse mother come "save" when I was the exact same age as her, and it changed my life for the better. I would love to help that happen for this very sweet, very smart young lady!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sleep-Away Camp!

I left you with a bit of a cliff hanger in my last post. Are you ready for some fun news?

Granite is going to sleep-away camp... for a whole month! He is going to stay with our dear friend/ horse mentor/ accomplished equestrian/ fox hunter extraordinaire, Jen. As I may have mentioned some time in the past, Jen's sweet red quarter horse mare, Pickle (yes, and there is also a horse at her barn named Onion), has been laid up for nearly a year with a stifle injury. So alllll of that horse training talent has been used to care for her sweet mare and not much of it has been used to ride horses.

Fortunately, I knew a big grey dude that could really benefit from some time under a much more talented equestrian's behind. I'm going to be out of town this weekend, memorial day weekend, and potentially the weekend after that. Add a few evening meetings for work in each week, and mid May to mid June were looking pretty sparse as far as Granite rides go. The timing was perfect and amazingly, Jen was really pumped about the proposition of taking my grey horse for a month!

Jen talked to her barn owner and got a (begrudging) agreement to take in a 16.3 overgrown kid for a month. I think she knew how much fun Jen could have with Granite and she loves Jen and wants her to be happy (who wouldn't). Heather (our trainer) and our barn owner (and farrier too) all agreed that this was a great opportunity, so we started making our tactical plans.

Granite leaves for camp on Friday. I'm taking a vacation day off of work so that I can get the boy ready and Jen can come get him and bring him the 45ish minutes west to her place. He will be there for about a month, assuming there are no unforeseen circumstances. She plans to do some trail riding and lots of working. I hope he is ready to get his pony-boy butt kicked. I'm going to miss his sweet face!

We are also eye-balling some local schooling shows! Ever since Jen came out to my barn the weekend before last and helped me start riding Granite like the hunter that he is and not the dressage horse I was trying to ask him to be (weird...), he has been such a champ. We think he may be ready to go to a show and see how he takes it all in. If he's good, we'll hack him out in some classes. We are eyeing THIS little schooling show series. I'm hoping I can go watch the one next weekend and then maybe we can coordinate to take the big man to the one in June (coordinating is ALWAYS fun since I don't have a truck or trailer, Granite doesn't fit in our barn owners', my trainer doesn't haul, and my two friends with rigs live 40min west of us). I don't want to get my hopes up... but they kind of are.

I rode yesterday and my boy was SO SO good (he's trying to make me really miss him while he is gone). I set up a "course" of three jumps (because Jen seems to think that if we take him to the show, he will be participating in the small over fences classes). The highest was a 2'3 oxer then there was a 2' vertical and a small cross rail. We cantered the whole thing with no rails down and 1 simple change. I was SO pumped. As we hopped around the jumps and I got a few take-offs wrong, Granite compensated for me! He was fantastic and may just end up being a jumping horse one day!!!

Our little course: (X rail to Oxer then back over the Vertical)

I highly doubt that Jen will have any desire to guest blog about Granite's experience at "camp" for us, but I'll ask her! Either way, I will make sure to share her updates with you. This is going to be really exciting for him and me (and hopefully her).

On a sad note, Jen's 12 year dog (her heart in a dog suit) is undergoing some pretty critical surgery today. Please keep Jen, her husband, their son and most importantly, Maverick, in your thoughts and prayers!