November 30, 2011

Loving Life

I get in this kind of mood every once in a while (actually it has been more often now a days).

I have this week, and then next week of classes. Then the week after I have my "finals", which really aren't classified as finals because they are just over the last portion of information covered in the classes. My only REAL final is on Dec 19th, and is genetics. So, on top of studying I also have 7 papers due on different dates over the next two weeks (the first one due tomorrow). But, while I'm reading my genetics book, because my genetics professor has succeeded in confusing the heck out of me, I am saying BRING IT ON! I also have realized that I am so content with my life. I have a great job working with horses, I'm doing reasonably well in school, I have some amazing friends, a wonderful family, I'm healthy, and so many other things that are so perfect, even if they are imperfect.

I have succeeded in being 2000 miles away from home for over 100 days and I have done it very well if I do say so myself. Sure I probably should have been more social and made a lot more friends then I have, but I'm fine with the way I have been living my life. I like to think I have made my family proud doing what I am doing. I have talked with my Mom and she is still fully supporting my idea to transfer to University of Maine next fall. I am so glad that I can say that I attended UMN and I proved a lot to myself. I haven't admitted this out loud, but I doubted weather I could do this, and I have proved to myself that I can, and I did. That is the best feeling in the world. Of course I couldn't have done it without my family and friends support, and I give all my love out to them.

20 days until I go home, can you believe it readers? Because I can't!

Thought I'd just share my amazing mood.

November 27, 2011

Big Decision

I have made a big decision in the past two days, and one I haven't 100% committed on though.

I have been in MN since August and I have loved it. I love going to school here, but there are a few things I feel like I would like different.
1) My room mate is a senior, and she isn't going to be around next year, and I really do feel like the chances of me getting a good room mate again are slim.
2) I am paying about 23K to go to school.
3) I don't have my car with me, I miss my car and I am getting tired of buses.
4) I'm so far away from family. I'm not saying I am homesick but I'm beginning to realize that if heaven for bid something happens to one of my family members, it isn't very easy to just hop on a plane.

I have been doing some research and I have decided I am going to try to get into a University in Maine that offers a pre vet program. By doing this I would be paying 13K instead of 23K (including dorms and meal plan), I'd have my car, I can get a good solid job, and have vet experience all year round and instead of during the summer.

Tonight I talked to my mom and she is supporting me what ever I plan to do (have I mentioned she is AMAZING?!)

Again, I do not regret coming here! I have emersed myself into this experience and I have loved every minute of it and I am so glad that I came here, but I think being closer to home would be a better decision.

November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

Since I won't be around for Thanksgiving I decided I want to list 10 things I am most thankful for.
1) For my amazing room mate! I couldn't have gotten a better room mate for my first year away from home. She has also invited me to go to WI with her to have Thanksgiving with her family, since I cannot fly home. Miranda you are the best!
2) My Family! Just this category could actually equal 100 thanks. My family is my pride and joy. I couldn't be here doing what I am doing without them. My Mom is the strongest woman I know! She was able to raise three GIRLS on her own, but my Grandparents and Aunt and Uncle helped my Mom so much so i cannot thank them enough either!
3) My pets. I love animals and because of them I was able to grow my love for animals. They are also there when I need an ear, which is often haha.
4) My health. Besides my many surgeries I have been in amazing health.
5) Education. I am in the best place possible for school. I love it here.
6) My job. I have a nice job that gives me enough support for me to buy my own groceries, and I have been able to pay for my own rent up to this point.
7) My twin is my best friend and my older sister is amazing even though we have not always been best buds.
8) My friends. I don't have many but the few close friends I have I love them so much and would do anything for them!
9) All my heartbreaks, this is surprising to be thankful for, but it has made me a stronger person.
10) Easy enough, I am just thankful enough for being alive! Life is so amazing and I am glad that I am able to see something good in almost every situation

November 20, 2011

29 Days

29 days until I go home.

I really like being here, but some days I just wish I could be near some woods to just get away. I miss my family and I cannot wait to see them. I really wish I had a camera just so I can show everyone what I see day to day.

I believe that when I go back to Maine I won't spend any time around a computer, which I am okay with. I'm only on the computer so much now because there isn't much to do. If i had my own car here I'm sure I'd find something to do and go exploring.

29 days...

November 19, 2011

Desi Week 1

This week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday) on top of going to work I have been working with Desi. She has made some FANTASTIC process I am beyond proud of her!!

Monday: Was not the best day for us. I worked Desi in the outdoor arena away from the herd. I started with the basic walk/halt at her side and made sure that she stayed halted while I walked away from her. She didn't seem like she was paying much attention to me, she seemed more focus on the other horses and tractors across the road. I believe I expected her to remember too much from Friday, and we ended it early, both of us frustrated, but on a good note.

Tuesday: I decided that it was probably best that we worked in the paddock with the other horses, that way she might pay more attention to me. The footing is decent and I figure it doesn't have to be prime footing if we are just doing very light work on the ground. I did a LOT more walk/halt next to Desi and she did amazing. I decided that we should try some trotting, and she did fantastic also! I finally asked her to halt and I backed away from her and stood about at her shoulder. I asked her to walk on and she walked on around me. I was ecstatic! I was only using a lead line so I didn't ask her to trot around me, but when I asked her to halt she stopped immdiately! So very happy! 

Wednesday: About the same type of thing. "Warmed up" by halt/walk/trot next to her using my voice, worked on also backing up, and then asked her to walk around me with just the lead rope. I decided it might be time to use the lunge line and lunge whip. I got what I needed and asked her to walk, suprisingly she went right out on the circle. I asked her to trot and it didn't take much coaxing and she started a nice trot! She walked and halted right on command also!! When I asked her to go the other way I ran into a problem. Desi would stop, look at me, and try to go the other direction. It was difficult to get her to go back the other way with the lunge line and whip it seemed like a lot to handle. I asked a few friends about it and they said that if she wants to go the other direction, let her, but make her work more. 

Friday: I put that idea to practice. Also I used the lunge line and just a regular whip. It was nice because Desi responds very well to my voice, and if needed I just lightly twirl the whip and she moves forward! Have I mentioned I am so proud of this horse?? She did decide to change the direction twice, when she did I had to trot, but not her lazy trot, I really had her move forward. Accidently when she was trotting I meant to say walk, but I said halt, and guess what? She halted!! I walked up to her and scratched her and told her what a good girl she was! She only tried changing directions twice and didn't do it again after that. I couldn't believe the progess we have made in a week!

Mind you, she wasn't an untrained horse when we started, but she wasn't as well into her training as some people had said and to see her catch on so quickly and like working like she does makes me so happy! 

I am hoping to have her canter maybe not this week but next week. This week I only work three days due to Thanksgiving. Have I mentioned I'm going to WI over break with my room mate?! I am very excited.

The indoor arena was just filled with new footing from a show ($35,000 worth of footed donated!) I think I should have her canter on good footing. 

Anyone have advice about training a horse to canter on the lunge? How can I tell that she is ready?

Thanks for reading!

November 11, 2011

Starting from the ground.

Yesterday I was very excited, I talked to my boss and she said that I could ride Desi (a green broke mare that some of the workers have been training). They all were telling my boss that she was doing very well, except for a few bucking incidences (which we traced back to the fact that when someone last cleaned her bridle, before I cleaned it, he/she had put the bit on backwards OUCH!). I fixed the bit after I cleaned the bridle. I told my boss that I just wanted to do some walk and trot work with Desi, which she agreeded to and boss said she would watch me.

Yesterday was the first snow fall in the area that I live, so it was cold. When I got to the barn, I tried tacking up Desi and she was just being AWFUL! She was pacing in her stall and acting like a total wreck. I linked it to that she wanted to be outside with the other horses. It got to the point where I didn't feel comfortable tacking her by myself. So I went and got my boss for her to assist. Desi was acting very naughty, but my boss told me it was because yesterday was the first cold spell of fall/winter, and she told me that most horses get a little more energetic when the first cold spell comes. We finally got her saddle on, but boss lady (and I agreed) that it wasn't worth the risk trying to ride Desi, so she told me to walk her into the indoor, take off her tack, and then free lunge her. 

Needless to say, I got more of a work out then Desi did. She was so confused about what I was trying to ask her to do, and I'm not even going into the ground manners (ground manners? when did I learn those?!). Desi had no idea what she was suppose to do and just wanted to stay at one corner of the arena, by the garage door. My boss said that I should work on walking/halting/trotting on command with her, since we weren't getting anywhere with lunging. So, apparently, Desi wasn't as far along as the other students were saying. 

I firmly believe that you if you can't get a horse to do something on the ground, you cannot expect the horse to know what to do under saddle. So we went back to square one. 

I finally have someone working with me. S is a AWESOME person! I am teaching her some things and she is learning so fast! So this extra hand gave me some time to work with Desi. In the outdoor arena we first worked with just walking/halting on command. I used a whip to reinforce the halt and backing up, she really didn't need it much to walk-on. Then we went into having her halt and stay halted while I walk around her. This took a while for her to understand but she got it. I realized that she really likes to stay by you when you are walking, almost to the point of being TOO close to you. In a way I guess this is good, but I believe this must be the root problem to the lunging issue. A) she doesn't know she is suppose to move around you. B) She doesn't want to go far enough away from you to do so.

The first step to fix this was to have her halt, I would walk to her butt, walk back up to her head, and then take a step away from her, walk to her butt, walk to her head, etc, until I was at the length of the lead rope away. She caught on faster on her left side then she did her right, but I predicted that would happen. I eventually got to the point where I could be a lead rope's length away from her and she would stay in one spot. I also had S work on this with Desi (A: it's good learning for S, and B: it's good for Desi to know she has to do this with everyone, not just me). Then while I was a good distance away from Desi, I would ask her to walk while I stood still. She was decent at this, but the halting was the issue. Before we called it a day, I was able to get Desi to halt on command about 4 feet away from me. 

Great job Desi!!

Thanks for reading :)

November 5, 2011

Productive Day

I'm tired so this is going to be a quick post.

This weekend at the equine center, a rescue called Refuge Farms is holding their annual auction fundraiser. I had the pleasure of working with 8 horses today. All but two were either blind in one eye or both. One that wasn't blind, Buddy, had no teach, then Miss April had really bad feet (it looked painful to watch her walk, even though she had special shoes). A huge belgian named Lanna was fully blind and it was very interesting mucking out her stall while she was in the stall. Constantly by my shoulder while I talked to her. Handsome (which I think is the PERFECT name for a male horse because that is what I usually end up calling every male horse anyways haha) looked more like a clydesdale then a belgian, but he was blind in his left eye. There was also a white gielding named Pony, and a grey appaloosa mare that I adored SO MUCH, she was also fully blind. I was amazed at how well these horses behaved and how mellow they were even though they were blind.

I spent most of today cleaning bridles today (which I actually LOVED). I cleaned 7 complete dressage bridles, and 1 complete western bridle. I also (with some help from a coworker) assembled 3 bridles with some spare parts that was donated. They weren't complete, we didn't have enough nose bands.

Also today we might have found out the reason why Mr P had been bucking while being ridden. We found some swelling in his suspensory (or suspension) tendon (or is it a ligament?) in his left back leg. Boss lady gave him some bute to see if that would bring down his swelling. We don't have any stalls available (because of the rescue horses here until Monday) but if it is not better by then, then he will be put on stall rest. Mr P is also in a huge need of some ground manner schooling *le sigh* I work with him almost every time I am working, sure he has been getting obnoxious but today he was just why do you like to make me look bad?

Haha it was a nice day overall!

Thanks for reading.