Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Horses Comfort Me

At this time, I find just being with the horses a great comfort. My Maisie is sweet and does her snuff-a-whuff, Noble is his splendid, reliable, sweet self, and Dawn is the alert, active alpha mare, but always interested, and with the softest muzzle. The others are also "my" horses, too - I love feeding them and leading them out and watching their interactions and playfulness, and often they come to seek me out for a scratch or a treat.

It was as good a day as any to start some spring work with Maisie - I'll wait to work Dawn until our arena is usable. We still have 4 or 5 inches of snow cover, and it was just 32F and windy, but we worked after feeding time. I groomed and saddled her, and took my bridle with us in case we got as far as riding, but put on her fuzzy nose halter and we worked on some lunging out on the field behind the barn. Every spring, Maisie and I have to do a review - we start with some lungeing, and then I ride a bit near the barn, then some ground driving on the trails, and finally riding on the trails. Every year we do this - she isn't one of those horses who you can just saddle up and ride once the weather's nice. In fact she can be a bit silly, and starts out every spring somewhat herdbound. I'm not sure how much this is due to her - she is very sweet but isn't the brightest bulb - and how much is due to my training which doesn't always stick with her very well from year to year.

She was determined that the barn was where she wanted to be, so we had various episodes of scooting, kicking out and stopping without going around the part of the circle that was facing away from the barn. She was pretty much high as a kite, and mind you, this horse gets no grain. Every time she stopped, I asked her to back up out of my space, then we stood for a moment, and then I asked her to move out again. If she tried to avoid going in a particular direction, we kept working on that until she was able to do. It took about 20 minutes, but finally we got a couple of decent laps in each direction at the walk and trot, and we stopped. Riding will have to wait for another day - one step at a time - and spring will come, someday.

12 comments:

  1. What a good idea , a fresh start (sort of ) any work with horses is a good comfort.

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  2. Fortunately my Boys tend to remember things after a layoff. But years ago I had a horse like Maisie who always needed remedial work about not getting frantic on the way home from a trail ride.

    I never much thought about it back then, but I do wonder now why the lessons never stuck. I guess some horses just are more driven by their natural herd instincts than others.

    I'm sure Maisie will settle down quickly once she gets a little more regular work. She's a good girl.

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  3. It is good that your horses can give you such comfort. You know what you need to do with each one and have such a patient and caring approach to getting back to work.

    I hope that you and your daughter are doing well.

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  4. Horses are healers, aren't they?

    I know what you mean on retraining. For us it's more of attitude - 3 weeks and Lily is back to being testy.

    Doesn't take long to recover, though.

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  5. Kate-Just curious when you say Dawn gets no grain. I've found a lot of people use the word grain interchangeable with feed pellets as well. Does Dawn get anything other than hay? I'm asking trying to learn more about nutrition for Laz. He is on grass hay and 2 cups broken in 2 feedings of Triple Crown Lowstarch feed, which I call his grain. Just curious.
    xo

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  6. oh sorry..it was Maisie you were reffing to

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  7. I think it is wonderful that you are getting back into a routine with Maisie, and hopefully soon with Dawn. It really is the best healing.

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  8. Kristen - Triple Crown is a good choice for your horse with his medical issues - you're getting good advice. All of our horses get a mineral/vitamin balancer pellet that is designed for our part of the country to balance our hays and grasses. You could call this grain, and some people do. Some of our horses (not Maisie) get additional feeds, generally for weight maintenance. None of the horses at our barn are in heavy work, so the amounts of supplement "grain" are minimal, except for a couple of the senior horses who either can't eat forage (Blackjack) or have trouble holding weight (Noble).

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  9. Kate..thanks for the info! :)
    Laz gets 1 cup of Triple Crown L/S twice a day. We are going to keep an eye on his weight, they want him on the thinner side (which he is) to keep his feet happy.
    xo

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  10. They know spring is almost here, don't they? I took Gabe out last night to longe then ride.

    I decided not to ride after he boot-scooted, hip-hopped, and buck-fart-snorted on the end of the line for a good 15 mins. before he settled enough to do anything even slightly obediently!

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  11. What lovely shots of the horses and I'm glad that you are finially feeling the spring in the air. I was sitting with my folks tonight having a wine and we noticed the leaves just turning. A few have that red tinge. Autumn is here. Its also lovely to hear you are out and about with your horses. I hope the snow melts soon and you get to use your arena

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