Winter is a tough time for cowgirls, especially cowgirls with day jobs. It’s dark for what feels like most of the day. It’s cold. And don’t even get me started on the rain…
Knowing that I hadn’t done much ride over the period of a couple weeks (only once, actually), I decided that a wise move would be to turn Sue out for a bit in one of the pastures to run his jollies out.
And run he did.
It was amazing to watch. I love nothing more than to just stand there and listen to his thundering hooves and watch him romp. He ran around for about 20 minutes until he was covered in sweat. It was such a beautiful thing to watch and just made my heart sing.
I’ve been waiting a while to get my hands on these… pictures of baby Sue being born!!! Warning that some of these pictures may be considered a little graphic for some! I actually squealed when I started scrolling through them! He looks like a very tiny version of my now big boy!!!
Today I had the very unique opportunity to take Sue out to a nearby ranch to learn to work cows. I’m not gonna lie… I was pretty much terrified. I had no idea how Sue would react (the one other time he was around cows was BuckFest 2014, but I think it was a combination of a lot of different things) and I had no idea what I was doing.
This horse loves cows. Apparently so do I because every picture that shows me head on shows me with a great big grin on my face. Honestly, it was so much fun!!!
We started the day by reviewing the basics – backing, turning, stopping. Then, they brought in the buffalo. Yeah, you read that right, the BUFFALO. Apparently they’re less aggressive than cows are and are a bit easier to learn on. Each of us in the class had the chance to chase the buffalo around the round pen twice. Once I pointed Sue in the direction of the buffalo, he was off! I swear, it’s like this horse found his purpose in life today!
After everyone worked the buffalo, we headed into the covered arena to start working on the cows. Sue and I got to practice cutting a cow from the herd – which sounds easy, but there’s definitely an art. You want to walk your horse in (the goal is to not disturb the herd) and chose the cow you want to separate from the rest. Once you get it out, you want to keep it out:
All of the hard work that my trainer, Sue, and I have been putting in really paid off! In fact, we were actually complimented for our stops and turns today! Here are a few more pictures of us chasing cows around. Also, I learned that a good cow dog is a huge help as well!
Today really was an amazing day! I’m so proud of my Sue and absolutely love taking him new places to try new things!
Five years ago today, my sweet boy Sue was born. I wish I would have been there and could have seen him as a foal!
As always, as I walked around the corner at the barn and called his name, Sue popped his little head over the stall door… he was hanging out by the fan that he shares with his BFF Cooper in the next stall because fly bites bother them both. I had already decided that my gift to him was a day without having to haul my butt around.
Seriously, how cute is his troll hair? At first I was a little bummed that my horse didn’t have the long flowing mane and forelock, but I have fallen more and more in love with his tiny little crazy hair! I helped give Banshee, his mama, a shot the other day and she has the same thing!
I pulled him out of his stall and took him down to the round pen for a frolic and a good roll. Because of the flies he doesn’t get much turnout time in the summer, so I figured today would be a good time to play around a bit. He chose not to run (it was HOT!) but did get a great couple of rolls in:
I bought a carrot cake cupcake for him… I’ve heard of people making their own horse treats, but read in several forums that horses also like regular carrot cake – probably because of the sweetness. I had a sneaking suspicion that he wouldn’t like it (he only really likes actual carrots), but had to try.
I ended up with cream cheese frosting and arena dirt all over me. I gave him an extra scoop of grain before I left to make up for it. We also walked the property for a while and ate some grass.
All in all, I think it was a pretty good birthday for him! I love that boy! Back to our training tomorrow… we head out on the 20th to work cattle for the first time! I can’t wait!
Yesterday was our third schooling show and I had one goal going into it… to not get disqualified. I know it sounds a bit silly, but we’re so new to showing and still learning so much that in both of the first two shows we went off pattern (first time was my mistake, second time was Sue’s). I honestly am not going to these shows to win ribbons (although it would be fun to get one), but rather to expose Sue to as much as I possibly can. My goal with him is to make him the best trail horse ever, which means that we need to see as much as we can and learn how to be calm together when faced with new and seemingly scary things. A show is a great place to do this – from the nervous energy of other horses and their riders to new sounds, smells, and things. I’m proud to say we made it through all three classes without getting disqualified!!! Sue definitely had his game face on:
Over the last three shows, we’ve made huge strides. He will now stand quietly while all of chaos moves around him. He doesn’t try to bolt across the arena when he realizes we go in alone like he did the first time.
Just before I did my trail class, my sister and the kids showed up… I got to take Chloe for a quick (about 3 feet) ride. Day made!
It was a great day! I’m so proud of my little fella!
A year ago today, a little redheaded gelding named Sue came into my life.
He’s taught me patience, he’s taught me strength. He’s taught me to remember to breathe. He’s taught me how to have a conversation without saying a word. He’s taught me what an amazing gift whole hearted trust can be. He’s taught me that I can’t muscle my way through life and that sometimes I just have to relax. He’s taught me to face my fears (and his) head on.
I’ve been bloodied, I’ve been bruised, I’ve laughed until my belly hurt. We’ve run from lightning and toward puddles. We’ve even competed in two shows. My car smells like a barn, especially when it gets hot outside. I do too… and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I am so happy that I became Sue’s person on March 27, 2014… I can’t imagine a better horse for me! I’m also amazingly lucky to have a wonderfully supportive husband who has backed my adventure 100%. I truly do have the most fantastic life! I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!
This morning I had my first experience with equine dentistry. I had tons of questions, and the veterinarian was super nice and actually a little excited that someone wanted to hear about what he does for a living. He has a cool trailer hooked to his truck that expands out and has everything he needs from tools to a portable stall, to the sling you see below to hold the horse’s head.
The very first thing the vet does is to tranquilize the horse… for fairly obvious reasons. Sue got pretty mellow, pretty fast. I walked him over to the trailer and we put him in the stall. He immediately leaned both on the stall and on the little chin rest.
The vet then explained everything he was going to do… basically, if a horse’s teeth do not wear evenly (tons of reasons why they wouldn’t) it can cause eating problems, tooth loss, ulcers in their mouth, etc. So once a year, the vet has to basically grind their teeth down to smooth off the sharp edges and realign the bite. He started with the front teeth, or incisors.
None of this hurts them since the “pulp” in their teeth is buried down inside. Yes, that’s his massive tongue just hanging out. He was way mellow. The vet then had me look inside Sue’s mouth and feel some of the sharp edges of the molars. He had one little spot that was ulcerated (similar to how the inside of your cheek feels when you bite it).
It’s kind of a terrible picture because my camera wanted to focus on the wrong part, but you can see how far back it goes if you look closely. The scary looking contraption on this head/mouth is just their to hold it open for the vet.
He also had to file down the sharp canines. Only stallions and geldings have them and in the wild they’re used to fight. In domestic horses, they are the most sensitive teeth and can cause pain if the bit hits them and they’re too long.
This is his setup… it was really neat!
I absolutely love this vet! He answered every question I had, was happy to let me take pictures, and was really great with Sue. Once he was done, I took Sue back to his stall. He had to wait about an hour to eat (and to come out of the drug haze) but is doing just fine!