Monday, March 19, 2018

A Ride in the Sun: 1 mile

For just the briefest of moments this weekend, we had warm(er) weather and it was sunny and clear Saturday and Sunday AND I didn't have to go into work. The stars were aligned, y'all. 

It was a dead horse kind of day. Pink is Gwyn, flat out, and purple but blending in is Saffron, also down but not totally out.

"Mom, you have treats, right?"

Since shedding season has FINALLY begun (yay spring!) I took my time grooming Gwyn. In anticipation of ramping up some work with her, I also gave her the tracest of clips. My first time ever. No judging. This is where she sweats the most so it should help, especially at our endurance ride in April. I might do more for her in April depending on how much of her coat she's blown out.

After tacking up we took to the still sn*wy and wet arena for a 'what is your energy level like today' lunge.

Pokey pony was pokey. I didn't even bother lunging the other side. I could barely get her to trot without a lunge whip. She was of the "ewwww mom, my feet are splashing cold sand on my belly" opinion and just didn't wanna.

I figured that was a good mindset to have for a toodling kind of ride.

"Please can we be done?"

So I hopped on and we did lots of walking work with bending and walk halt transitions and some trotting but really the arena needed one more day of sun before I felt comfortable doing a lot of trot work in it. I need to go through and salt and drag it before the plants take hold.

I did set this up. We walked over it. Gwyn did not touch the poles. That's pretty big. She's usually very lazy with her feet.

We also did the first exercise from the Jumping Exercises book. I did a few extra stuff using this basic set up like a clover leaf pattern with smaller 10m circles. 

So sunny!

Parked out, for her.  Gwyn, you are not a Morgan or Saddlebred. 

I think she was happy for the attention though. Now that she's shedding I'll be making sure to groom pretty much every day so we can keep the itchies at bay. Saffron won't shed for a while but will suddenly be sleek in July. That donkey is enigmatic. I also pulled blankets from them since the weather seems to be on the up and up with no precipitation forecast for a week.

It'll mean less clean horses but they'll be fine, the woolly beasts.

We got about a mile of work in 30 minutes. So we weren't particularly marching. But it was a rejuvenating, warm ride.

Monday, March 12, 2018

In which Sn*w becomes a 4 letter word

We went from this, at the very end of February... (27th) 

To this (my drive home from work, on the 1st)

I, of course, had helpers in the barn.

And a new addition in the barn. 

And there was more.

I mean, pretty, but I'm over it. 

And I went out to the barn to discover that a certain stubborn mare had not left the barn ALL DAY. And promptly got stocked up in one leg.  (March 7)

Compared to her other hind.

So I cold hosed that day. It wasn't tender, or hot to touch. She was probably thinking, "CHRIST, woman! THERE'S SN*W OUTSIDE AND YOU'RE HOSING MY LEG?!'

But I thought ahead and had the space heater going so she can suck it. And I always only have it on if I am in the barn. 

Since she was being obviously stubborn about being in the sn*wstorm, I put her blanket back on  (she hasn't been clipped...) and put extra hay out in the sn*w to force them out.

My drive to Kaylee's school (March 8)

My forcing them out in the sn*w worked. Saffron is displeased.

The swelling is only on the outside of her hind and I obsessively checked it every day. 

I still had helpers.

I stopped cold hosing after that first day based on some advice from other horse people and just massaged the leg. It was getting progressively better each day and she was fine with weight bearing and there was no lameness I could see. 

Hazel tries so hard to chastise Gwyn when she steals Saffron's food. Gwyn ignores her.

March 9, getting better.

I got new hay bags since my old ones were either falling apart (looking at you, Tough-1) or had giant draft nose size holes in them, negating the benefit of slow feeder (Hay Pillow).

My new ones are Hay Chix slow feeders.

March 10 I had to go to work and had a helper but then we got to do some fun stuff.

Like go to the Michigan Horse Expo in Lansing!

Gwyn's leg was pretty much back to normal.

And I discovered that my now obviously spoiled horses were getting PICKY. They ate ONLY the alfalfa and left the timothy. Don't let them tell you they're hungry. The bag on the left is what they had sitting around ALL DAY.

Spoiled mare.

We burned a bunch of cardboard.

March 11 was much sunnier and there was STILL leftover hay so that got dumped out of the slow feeders. Things are slowly melting. Just an hour south has a 10 deg temperature increase, so we are still encased in sn*w when the rest of Michigan has nothing, it feels. 

And this was this morning. Sunrise over my pasture. And sn*w is coming down again today.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

7.5 miles on Saturday!

I'll get the video in a separate post, but I finally trailered out this year! And boy was that an adventure... Ahem.

In short, I do not trust Gwyn to load without some form of protest at home. And lately it's been minor protest that happens once and then she self loads with a point and a 'STEP!'. Before her antics would result in me losing the lead rope and then she'd go gallivanting across the property, sending Saffron into a tizzy that would only exacerbate matters.  I've remedied that by creating a pen around the horse trailer to keep her contained.

Saturday was not that kind of day. I should have figured something was up when she saw me coming and went tearing through the pasture while bucking. I got the pen set up and loaded my stuff into the trailer then grabbed Gwyn and pulled her sheet off and took her out to my mini pen and let her graze while I curried her and took out her mud knot.

Shedding season has commenced. Thank FSM.

FLOOFY! Note: I'm not sure I'll do the mud knot again? I'm a more low maintenance horse owner and banging it off a bit high and letting it grow should be fine. This horse does not lack for hair.

Acting all sweet like she wasn't plotting how to get out of getting on the trailer.
I went to load her and she just.. was not having it. She tore away and started bucking and leaping in this SUPER TINY about the size of a round pen area. I caught her, tried loading again, she tore away and went bucking everywhere and then wouldn't let me catch her. She finally went back into the barn (lol) where I snagged her, grabbed a lunge whip and took her to the arena.

Because if assface wants to run all over the place she's gonna effin' RUN.  And I didn't let her break to walk until I was good and ready and she was ready to stand because DAMMIT I control her feet.

She will do this trot under saddle. It's... fun.

Gwyn. Your feet. What. 


Gwyn, your feet, again. What.
So, I made her do that for a while. Then I stopped her and she was just HEAVING and out of breath and I calmly walked up, reattached her lead and walked her to the trailer (with a stop for a drink of water because I'm not THAT mean) and pointed her at it. She thought about it, I clucked and said "Step UP" and on she went and just stood while I put up the butt bar.


I made sure I had a cooler and we pulled out to make the ridiculously short drive to the trailhead for the ride. (5 mins) She unloaded calmly, looked around, and stood nicely at the trailer while I cactus clothed the sweat she already had, lol, and tacked up.

I'm not a monster tho so she got a back on track blanket so her muscles would stay nice and warm after her lovely warm up HAHAHAHAHA

OH! And the first ride using the gift I got in the blogger gift exchange! I'm a fan of the water bottle holders! Plus that saddle pad I made is still going strong. *flex*

Still loving that quick change bridle too. Need to make my purple rope halter. I've got enough paracord....
She was quite nice for mounting, and I finally got hte hang of using my grab strap for mounting so it was quite smooth. I also lowered my stirrups a hole which I think I'll keep for endurance stuff. I felt much more secure with the longer leg. Because it's been so wet lately I didn't want to ride through the grass of the park and leave divots so we took the road as I'm not sure the new connector trail is ready for horses yet. The first bridge I can see from the parking lot still only has one railing and it's bloody narrow.

As soon as we hit the road I heard a vehicle approaching us from behind. Okay, yet another one of Gwyn's hang ups. I waved at the driver and turned Gwyn to face the truck. They were quite polite and slowed down. Gwyn was fine.

WTF Mare?!

We didn't see any other cars before reaching the trail itself, which is non-motorized traffic only. After that it was great aside from me feeling REALLY bad about my memory of how large the gravel is on the trail. (larger than I remembered).  We did not have a lot of stretches where I felt Gwyn was comfortable enough moving out on the rocks. I'm still waiting on my Megasus, but with some worrisome cracks in her hooves I've decided to order either Scoot Boots or Renegades. They're basically two shoeing cycles cost wise but will last WAY longer for me than iron shoes. Anyway.

I headed north on the trail toward town. I got there faster than I remembered the trail being long (though to be fair, the last time I rode it I was pregnant and just walked) and decided that I was going to bite the bullet and cross north of town to explore new trail and to see how Gwyn was doing. She had been pretty level headed (Huh, guess 10 minutes of constant trot/canter work will do that) the whole time I was on her so I didn't think it would be an issue. It wasn't.

The trail north of town had NO gravel and was actually very wet in places. The complete opposite of what we had just down. I went a mile north of town to the next road crossing and turned back at that point. At that road it would have been faster to just ride home than go back to the trailer, lol.

Coming back to the main road in town.

It feels weird riding through that park across the street even though it's part of the trail. It's just really nice, lol.

We had to wait for lots of cars before it was clear to cross and she was SO good. No dancing around, just waiting patiently. We got lots of waves. :D 

Happy Goober Mare Ears

Happy Me!  It was above freezing and not windy. I didn't need a neckwarmer or gloves! 

Bridge crossing!
We got back to the road that we entered the trail on and I took Gwyn further south to the next road before turning back. This is where we encountered REALLY bad gravel and the tire pile of doom. I also tried to get her into the stream to drink but she wasn't a fan of the footing and I was letting her make that choice.

Then it was cooler time and some grazing!

We got back with everything intact. I wore my new ovation winter paddock boots that I thought didn't fit but do and I'm really not a fan of them for long periods in the saddle. I think for the occasional 30 minute ride it would be fine, but several hours is just not feasible. My foot was sliding around too much, especially my right one and I couldn't get secure purchase even though the outer boot was definitely not moving in the stirrup. It was causing me a lot of pain in my calf trying to compensate. My left foot/calf was fine.

All in all it was a very fine day for a ride!

Also, slower than I wanted but I blame boot complications and the gravel. I like to aim for an average 10 min/mile. But, this is early season, so I'll give it a pass :)