Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Miles the Stowaway

Last week I had a client come with her horse and trailer for her weekly training session.  When we were done with her lesson I headed to the house to do some paperwork, she loaded up her horse in the trailer, and climbed into her truck to leave.  She noticed that there were some tissues on the seat and thought that was awfully messy of her husband and she wondered why she didn't see them when she drove to my place earlier.  Then she pulled out of the driveway and headed south down the road.  A little ways away she started sniffing and wondered aloud, "what is that SMELL?!"  Then she was startled as something nudged her arm and she realized Miles was in the truck with her!  He had rummaged through her trash bag to access the used kleenex, then tucked himself away in the back seat of the cab to await departure.  When she noticed his distinct "swamp dog" perfume and asked aloud what was so malodorous he happily put his head on the console and nudged her arm so she could rejoice that he had accompanied her on her trip to town.  She found a place to turn her rig around and brought him back home, where he happily hopped out of the truck, thanked her for the field trip, and went to the garage to wait in his crate for me to come out again to work.  That dog sure loves a car ride.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Walking "the Back 40"

Today Fergie and Sara did a short riding lesson and then a small group of us went to ride around the big fields behind the property.  This was Cosmo's first time out on our place, and he did great!  I think he's going to be quite popular around here....

I rode Cole, who is perhaps the slowest walking horse on the planet, so we were in the back situated appropriately for taking photos.
You can see the back of the indoor arena on the right, and the barn in the middle and just barely see the house on the left

Miles always comes on the leisurely rides and has a dip in his ponds on the way
Fergie relaxing on the ride with the indoor arena in the background

Cosmo marching around the pasture like the fabulous pony he is

Friday, September 26, 2014

Welcome, Cosmo!

After the pair pace last weekend I brought Cosmo home with me.  He belongs to a client who wasn't using him as much as she'd like, and so I was able to lease him for the winter to use for lessons for my smaller riders.  He arrived at Bit of Honey with a big welcome from the other horses.

He's about the same height as Garmin, but much stockier with a sturdy build and good feet. 

All the big horses stared and stared at the ponies getting to know each other.
Highboy was particularly enthralled
Ponies making friends!
Cosmo with his new biggest fan

Arapahoe Hunt Pair Pace at Plum Creek Hollow

Last weekend I rode with some friends in the pair pace in Larkspur that was a fundraiser and interest-generator for the Arapahoe Hunt.  A pair pace is basically a fast trail ride where you ride with up to 3 other people as a team and go over jumps in a competition to finish the course as close to the optimum time as possible.  This course was wonderful with good footing, friendly jumps and helpful volunteers running the event.

We started by assembling our costumes, we were disguised as racehorses.  The Arabian was #1 in blue, the Hanovarian warmblood was #2 in pink, and I was on the Friesian cross as #3 in yellow.  They were particularly charming costumes since none of our horses had ever been on the track.

Obie was a machine, while he was a little jazzed up in the warm-up after he galloped a bit and jumped a couple fences he settled right in to his job and acted like he does this every weekend.

Obie's big hair after I removed his braid (I struggle with keeping my reins from getting tangled when the horse has THIS much hair - so I braid him when I ride him)

After the pair pace was over they did a presentation of the hounds.  It was interesting to see this done in Colorado compared to where I grew up in New England and then went to hunts my first year of college in Virginia.  Very relaxed atmosphere here, and such a friendly group.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Rescuing Luke

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

 This is Luke.  He appeared online as a free horse last week, and a local rescue group agreed to take him if someone could go pick him up in Laramie, WY.  I had time yesterday afternoon before the snowstorm rolled in, so a friend and I went up to get him.  He spent the night at my place last night and the owner of the rescue picked him up from me this afternoon to take him down to Berthoud where her rescue is located.  He looks pretty good in these pictures, it's hard to show exactly how thin he is.  I would put him at a 0.5 to 1 on the body condition scale, and it's amazing to me how an animal this emaciated stays upright.  It may sound a bit morbid, but he would have been a good candidate for painting the anatomy onto a horse, because you can see and feel every tuberosity and joint on him.  Just bones and hair.  He has a little bit of a belly in these photos because he was able to slowly eat grass hay all night out of a small mesh hay net in the stall.  Hopefully it wasn't too much, but I didn't want him to be cold.  You have to reintroduce feed very carefully to a horse in this condition so that you don't overload the liver and kidneys with protein.  He is old, probably a 25 year old quarter horse, and I wish him all the best in his new start.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Saddle Pad Tutorial

I get a lot of questions about saddle pads, so I thought a blog post might be helpful.  I'm quite a tack junkie myself, which is another reason why eventing is the perfect sport for me since I can justify having three sets of tack per horse, one set for each phase of competition.  Since I also ride western I have an elaborate collection of saddle pads.  Pads come in all kinds of colors, shapes, sizes, and materials.  I took photos of a few of the ones I could find (we're still in the midst of a lot of unpacking!)

This first photo is of a few of my western pads.  Each of them has a different purpose, though they are all similar.  When I'm working with a saddle that fits the horse in question, I like wool felt pads because they don't compress too much and seem to distribute heat pretty well. 

The top brown pad is called a cutback pad because it has a hole in the front cut out to accommodate high withers.  The black pad in the middle is about 3/4" thick and square, it works well under a western saddle that fits the horse reasonably well or is a touch wide. 

This white pad is appropriate for a saddle that fits the horse quite precisely and too much padding would make it uncomfortable.  Saddle pads are like socks.  If your shoe is too wide you can sometimes get away with wearing if you have a thick sock, but if your shoe is too narrow a thick sock only makes things worse.  

This floppy pad is called a western saddle blanket, and is only some thin woven cotton.  I use it as a cover for the regular pad at horse shows when I want us to look a little more crisp (I don't want the horse hair that has become stuck to the top of the everyday pad to show).

This square-ish pad is for english saddles, just a schooling pad.  It's a couple layers of cotton with a layer of batting in between.  English saddles are made to fit the horse's back fairly closely, so this pad will absorb sweat and save the saddle leather but not do much to change how the saddle fits.

This puffy pad is very similar to the one above it, it has a more square shape to accommodate a dressage saddle with a longer flap.  It doesn't do much to change the fit of a saddle, either, but it's soft and puffy which my sensitive thoroughbreds like.
This sheepskin pad is cotton on the top and sheepskin on the bottom with rolled edges so everyone can see how soft it is.  More a fashion statement than function with the top side sheepskin.  The underside is sheepskin as well, which has great moisture wicking properties and distributes heat nicely.  It doesn't do much to change how a saddle fits other than being slightly thicker than a regular schooling pad.  It's called a half pad because it's smaller than the schooling pads.

This is a gel pad inside of a cotton slipcover.  It works pretty well as a shock absorber, but if your buns are hitting the saddle hard enough to need shock absorption your money would be better spent on riding lessons.  I mostly just use it when I have a saddle that needs reflocking, or the panels on the underside are losing their "give" and need to be restuffed.  I have one saddle in particular that has a great tree which fits many of the horses with high withers and a big "swoop" to their back.  However, the panels were originally air bladders which have deflated somewhat.  So if the tree fits the horse's back I use this gel pad with that saddle to give the horse a little cushion between him and the tree of the saddle.
This half pad is similar to the black sheepskin pad, but it only has sheepskin on the underside.  It is called a correction pad because it has pockets sewn into the top so that I can add felt shims to make the pad thicker in certain places.  I use this pad a lot when I have horses who come to me for physical therapy or rehabilitation who are very asymmetrical through their back because of old injuries.  Horses who have healed from broken withers also often need this pad shimmed a certain way to be comfortable.

I've not had a lot of luck with western correction pads, because the seams for the pockets go all the way through the felt and make for areas where the horse ends up with edema, or swelling.  Better to have a smooth surface against the horse's back rather than one with seams.