Monday, October 31, 2011



Scouring the internet for random stuff about horses I've found a startling number of people who like to dress their horses up for Halloween.  Here are some of the best and worst costumes I've found (I'm not commenting on the cruelty or humiliation inherent in this practice because I'm laughing too hard):

And let's not forget people and pets dressed up as horses:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


This week:
  • Be able to pick up and clean Starbuck's hooves without her pulling them away.
  • Drive Starbuck forward from beside her without pressure on the halter.
  • Train Starbuck to flex her head right and left with action from the bit.
This month:
  • Make consistent 3 or 4s on at least half the report card.
  • Have Starbuck's hooves trimmed by a farrier.
  • Ride Starbuck for the first time!!!
Next month:
  • Make consistent 4 or 5s on at least half the report card.
  • Be able to do a one-rein stop.
  • Teach Starbuck leg aid cues to walk, trot and canter.
6 months:
  • Make consistent 4 or 5s on 3/4 of the report card.
  • Take Starbuck on a two to three hour long trail ride.
  • Ride calmly and correctly at a walk, trot and canter.
  • Teach Starbuck to trailer load calmly and take her on her first short trip.
1 year:
  • Make consistent 4s and 5s on the entire report card.
  • Be able to take Starbuck on all day trail rides.
  • Make small jumps and do basic dressage work.
2 years: 
  • Take Starbuck on the Camino de Santiago or to Gredos for a five day trip.
  • Ride Starbuck in some kind of show.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Long in the Tooth

Today Starbuck had her first visit from the dentist (Sandra Fortuny)!  She's a woman about my age or a little younger who did her veterinary residency in the USA at animal hospitals near Belmont and Aqueduct racetracks, so she's seen a lot of horses in her day.  Both Starbuck and I appreciated her calm, professional "stallside" manner and she was also really instructive, explaining what she was doing and how to tell if problems arise in the future.
So first she sedated Starbuck since we decided that we didn't want her to come away with a scary memory of the dentist and I only had a couple of hours (it was on my lunch break).  Then she stuck her hand in there and checked her out-- apparently my baby girl has some wolf teeth which will have to come out in the coming year.  Then she did some light floating (rasping away of irregularities with a file) to see how Starbuck handled it (pretty calmly seeing as how she was way out of it).  Afterwards she used a speculum to keep Starbuck's mouth open while she really sanded down any points that might cause pain when they rub against her teeth and gums, and while she was doing this Starbuck lost her other front tooth... so I have a (kind of gross) souvenir!  At the very end the dentist took the speculum out to finish off with a small file.
Starbuck behaved like a real lady during all of this and only kind of protested towards the end when Sandra was working on her rear molars (she's still got her last molars coming in so that area must be kind of tender), I was so proud of her!  The vet says that not all horses behave so well even under sedation.  When this was all over (it took around 40 minutes) the dentist showed me how to tell if the teeth were growing incorrectly (holding Starbuck's mouth shut, I should be able to shift the lower jaw left and right 1 centimeter) and also told me to call her if Starbuck starts showing signs of having pain due to the wolf teeth so she can surgically remove them.  And I got a fancy report with a diagram of Starbuck's tooth wear and growth patterns as well as recommendations until the next visit next year.  And Starbuck got a nice long scratchy massage and an extra fluffy bed to sleep in tonight!

All in all an educational day and much less stressful than I feared!  Thanks Sandra!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


So here are the videos from yesterday's photo session, it was the first time I ever longed or led her with the line attached to the bit.  So the first is standard longeing, first with the line hooked to the rope halter and then with the line attached right to the bit.  The second is working a little on lateral flexion and just getting her used to giving her head to the right and the left when she feels pressure from the reins.


Yesterday my lovely husband Sergio graciously tagged along to the stable and took photos of everything we did.  He's a real sport for not only putting up with lots of things he doesn't like (flies, dogs, horses, all kinds of poop, various barnyard smells...) but doing so cheerfully for several hours every few weeks so that Starbuck and I can have our very own amazing paparazzi.  So here's a long stream of gorgeous photos of us just doing our thing on a normal Saturday morning!