May 8, 2011

Just a sampling of some pictures taken that day.


I spent the last week of April in Baltimore for the Council of Science Editors meeting. I served as a faculty member for the Short Course on Journal Metrics and moderated sessions on supplemental data and conducting an editor-in-chief search. Jhays went with me to Baltimore, and Maggie drove up from Richmond to spend time with us. I got to visit Edgar Allan Poe’s grave again, but this time I also got to visit the Baltimore Poe House and Museum. We also toured some of the ships at the harbor. My iPhone was stolen at the convention center, meaning I lost my photos (except for those that had been uploaded to Facebook) because I stupidly hadn’t backed them up. I was particularly sad to lose the photos I had taken of Indy.

Maggie and me on the USS Constellation

Lunging Lesson (April 17, 2011)

I didn’t go to the barn the weekend of April 9th because I had Bark for Life and book club on Saturday and a migraine on Sunday. So instead here’s a picture of Ilsa doing her part to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

The next Saturday, Jhays and I had our Komodo dragon Wild Encounter at Zoo Atlanta. We got to feed Slasher and tour his enclosure.

Slasher anticipating his snack, or possibly the prospect of eating the child on the other side of the fence.

Slasher with his usual self-satisfied smile.

On Sunday I really just wanted to take a nap after I left my parents’ house in the afternoon, but I went out to the barn anyway. Lorie was there and available, so I was finally able to have her show me how she had been working Vindy on the lunge line. Although he had moments of obstinacy and was somewhat distracted by gnats, which were swarming like crazy, I could really see the progress she had made with him. After she showed me the techniques she had been using, she had me try them too, and it was nice to have tools to deal with some of the ways he tries to get out of work (like spinning around to face you or changing directions without being asked). We didn’t work him for long, but it was a helpful session for me. I was looking forward to work calming down so I could spend more time out there and put these new techniques to use.

To make sure things start at the walk, Lorie first walks him a lap around the arena.

Moving at the trot as asked.

Halting on command.

After the session, I hosed him off. We decided it might be good for me to put some Swat in his ears to keep the gnats away. Apparently my jar of Swat is about 20 years old, because Lorie had never seen the bright pink version before, and that was the only kind I was familiar with. I’m old. Vindy has some sensitivity to having his ears handled, so it took some doing (plus a step stool and help from Lorie and Bryan) to get any of the Swat in his ears. Finally Lorie said if he would just let me hold his ear until he showed signs of relaxation, that would be a good effort for the day. So I cupped his ear in my hand, and finally he dropped his head a fraction and kept it steady without us pulling down on his halter. So I praised him and let it go, and he licked his lips, which was a good sign. I made a note to keep working on desensitizing him to having his ears handled. It’s not a serious problem since he is fine to halter and bridle, but of course we want him to be comfortable having them clipped or medicated when necessary.

I foolishly took him out to the pasture after that, where he promptly rolled in the dirt with his wet coat. Whoops.

April 2, 2011

On Saturday April 2nd, I attended the Purina Ultimate Dog Championship at Centennial Olympic Park, but after that I went out to the barn. Unfortunately, Vindy had thrown one of his brand new fancy aluminum shoes, so I wasn’t able to work him. Instead I groomed him and left it at that. While I was grooming him, I had the sudden thought that I was grooming an actual son of Vindication. Sometimes that still seems like such a dream. He really needs his mane pulled too, but it was feeding time and I didn’t expect him to stand there patiently for a chore like that, so I left it for another day. I did, however, take some Hipstamatic pics of him while the mares were being brought in.

Enough with the grooming. It's feeding time.

Sometimes you can really see his sire and grandsire in his expression.

A sweet greeting for Stormy.


3-Month Update (March 30, 2011)

I wasn’t able to make it out to the barn on the last weekend in March. We had the funeral of a close family friend on Friday, Jhays and I spent Saturday working on getting our old house cleaned out and ready to rent, and I had a family birthday party to attend on Sunday. Luckily, Lorie was working with Vindy in the meantime, so he wasn’t neglected. She reported that they were working on lunging in the arena. She said he was improving on his manners, doing much better at getting out and staying on a circle, and staying in the direction she asked of him.  He was doing well with the halt command, but needed work moderating his pace and staying at the walk rather than rushing into the trot.

On March 30th, I submitted my 3-month update to New Vocations. I have already posted most of the pictures I sent, except this one:

My update read as follows:

Royal Vindication is being fed 5 lbs A.M. & 5 lbs P.M. of Legends 11% Show & Pleasure pelleted feed plus 1/2 lb Seminole Ultra Bloom rice bran both A.M. & P.M. as well. He is supplemented with Omega Horseshine, but he doesn’t really like it for some reason, so we are probably going to switch to a pelleted supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids. He is also getting fescue & Bermuda mix hay (roll, plus additional in his stall at night) and fescue mix pasture. He is currently on day turnout with a group of geldings. Starting in March, the trainer at my barn has been working him twice during the week either in the round pen or on the lunge line. I am doing round pen, lunging, and under saddle work with him on the weekends. We are spending a lot of time going back to basics with him, working on upward and downward transitions and halts using voice commands. He now crossties with no problem and stands well for grooming and baths. When I first went to clip his bridle path, he showed some aversion to clippers near his head, so I have been desensitizing him to that, and by going slowly I was able to clip his bridle path successfully. He is now current on his vaccinations and has an updated Coggins. We had pulled his shoes for about 8 weeks, but due to the thin soles revealed by his x-rays and the chipping he experienced while barefoot, we have put him back in aluminum shoes up front. He loves his peppermints and comes running whenever I go to get him from the pasture. He is a bit of a busy bee, so we are working on his focus and his work ethic, but all in all, he is just a sweet, gorgeous boy.

They wrote back to say he was looking fantastic and that they were happy to hear about how he was handling the transition.

March 21, 2011

Went to the barn after work. Took some pictures at bath time. I took these on my phone, which was stolen when we were in Baltimore, so if I hadn’t uploaded them to Facebook, they would have been lost for good.

March 19, 2011

Rose gave birth to her filly Gwen, so on Saturday I went to the barn to take pictures of the new foal. Rose was already playing the role of wonderful mom, and Gwen was an adorable foal, black like her mother.

Gwen in the afternoon sun.

Proud mom Rose with baby Gwen.

I also took some pictures of Vindy and the geldings out in the pasture, as well as shots of them coming in for dinner. As you can see from the photos, Vindy was dirty and sweaty, so I gave him a bath afterwards.

A horse and carriage had driven by, which got the geldings running around. Vindy is leading the way with Regal and JR following.

Vindy pausing in the fading sun, under the tree.

Vindy running in for dinner. I didn't do the best job getting all of him in frame.

March 13, 2011

On Sunday, March 13th, Lorie was kind enough to hold Vindy for me while I took photos for his 3-month update to New Vocations.

The pond made a nice backdrop, but the lighting didn't show him off to best advantage.

This would have been nice if he had been looking towards the camera. And if you ignore the hideous puncture wound on his forearm.

Focus? What focus?

My favorite of the bunch. He is posing nicely and looks like a well-mannered gentleman.

Later that same week the farrier came out; he called me while he was there and said Vindy was coming up sore with the hoof testers both on the sole and at the toe. So he suggested putting shoes back on, and he recommended aluminum shoes to help with the concussion and to help with the amount of hoof damage he had. I told him to proceed. I felt somewhat guilty because I had noticed Vindy short striding on Sunday, but I had attributed it to the iffy footing in the ring. This made me wonder if foot soreness wasn’t part of the reason for some of his misbehavior during February.

March 6, 2011

The next Sunday, Tinsley came out with me again. Even though the trees were in bloom, it was a cold, windy day. I got a phone call from Maggie, so Tinsley lunged Vindy while I talked on the phone. At one point he tried to break away from Tinsley and run to the gate, so she had to get him back in hand. Like most horses, he always seems to be more full of himself on blustery days.

Vindy with Tinsley

February 27, 2011

On Sunday, February 27th, Tinsley went out with me and we worked him in the round pen. Then I rode him, and she got on him for a little while too. Afterward she worked with him a bit from the ground on his lateral aids. It was a much better day than Saturday.

Sweaty after being worked in the round pen

Me riding him in the round pen

Tinsley riding him in the round pen

Tinsley aboard

Tinsley asking him to back up

Tinsley asking him to move right

Relaxed while doing ground work with Tinsley

Giving me a nuzzle