Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Windy But Wonderful

Today it was windier than I would have liked and chilly in the morning - the wind chills were in the 30sF and just managed to get up to 40F by later in the afternoon.  But there was sun on and off, and it's April and that's what we have so all three horses got some work.

At morning feeding time, Drifter and I did a little more in and out of the stall leading practice, including going out into the parking lot and back into the barn.  He only stopped moving forwards for a moment a couple of times - there was no pulling back, and we easily moved forwards again after a moment of circling.  Later in the morning, Drifter got to go out to the pasture strip that's between the mares' and geldings' pastures - it's bounded on one side by an electric fence and on the other by a board fence.  Neither the mare herd nor the gelding herd were out grazing - we've been off the pastures for about a week due to the wet and were just getting started again with an hour or so of afternoon grazing today.  The advantage of this grazing strip is that no other horse ever sets foot in it, so the fact that Drifter's still in quarantine and still needs a fecal retest in about 10 days didn't matter.  He led down there, and back, really well, despite the distance - it's a 100 yards or so - and the crowd of interested geldings at the fence line of the dry lot.  Today he grazed for about 20 minutes - tomorrow we'll go for 45.  No more hand-grazing for now - it creates bad habits.

Then Pie and I had a lovely, long, walking trail ride with Scout - they'd both seen the chiropractor and that was what we were supposed to do today - no hard work, just walking and stretching out and down.  Pie's walk was much better - more loose and forward - and he seemed pretty happy to be out.  Jill and I got pretty cold by the time we got back to the barn - the wind was fierce. Good Pie!

Later, I took Dawn out for a little work - we did more figure work at the walk and also attempted walking over some poles - she struggles a bit with this and I got off and hand-walked her over.  She's doing very well in the sidepull, and I'll keep her in that until the dentist can take a good look at her tongue.  It was a bit cold for Dawn - the wind chill was only 40F, and she's not got much coat or body fat, but she was very cooperative in the work.  Good Dawn!

Drifter and I had a good work session in the afternoon.  He coped well with the other horses being out in the pasture, and Charisma leaving on a trail ride - he called once but that was it.  His leading and mounting work were excellent, as was his feet picking while ground tied.  We continued our work on halting on a soft cue and also speed regulation - my objective is never to pull on him - no braces that he can brace against.  He did very well, and started to stretch his neck down and out.  We did lots of figure work involving cones and walked over the ground poles.  A couple of times he wanted to stop working but I said to continue and he did.  After we were done and untacked, I walked around with him at liberty - he follows just at my shoulder - and walked over the various ground poles with him - he just happily followed along with me.  When I took him into the barn and into his stall, he thought for just an instant about stopping but decided not to.  Good Drifter!  Tomorrow we'll work with our p.m. barn lady on his leading so she knows what to do if he gets stuck or starts to pull back - I don't think he'll do that anymore with me, but he may test her a bit.

It was a good, if chilly and windy, day with horses.

13 comments:

  1. I think from now on all the comments will be something like: Good Pie, Good Dawn, Good Drifter!

    Glad you had a good day with all three. Love the new header.

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  2. I think I'm a little in love with Dawn. There's something about a bay mare that gets me. ;D

    Love the new header!

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  3. Love the new picture in the header! You're getting some nice work in with all three of them these days. I'm guessing Drifter's leading issues will be non-existant pretty soon. I completely agree with you that he is just used to getting his away and not used to having much asked of him. I think he'll really enjoy having a program. He's coming along quickly.

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  4. Kate...did you convert your bitless bridle into a sidepull? That makes more sense to me. How do I convert mine...do you have a picture of Dawn wearing it?

    It was 67 here yesterday and a very windy 40 today. Sounds like it was similar to what you had.

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  5. You've got a good group of horses over there at your place. Even with cold wind it sounds like they were all very well behaved and focused. :)

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  6. Lori - I've actually been using Pie's sidepull with Dawn. But I did earlier "convert" my Mr. Cook's - what I did was to shorten up the cross-over straps so the rings were just resting on the noseband rings, and then, still using the chin strap at a reasonably tight setting, I just attach the reins to the noseband rings, not to the crossover rings - the crossover rings just sit there unused. It works, although it's a bit awkward. I prefer using Pie's sidepull because it has a jowl strap, halfway between the throatlatch and the chin strap, which stabilizes the bridle and keeps it from twisting when you put pressure on only one rein.

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  7. Love the header picture... looks like they're sharing a hay strand... too cute :)

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  8. That new header picture is wonderful! I'm enjoying reading about your progress with Drifter. It's touching to see how he responds to you and is already bonding. What kind of vitamin/mineral balancer pellets are you giving him? I've been feeding Triple Crown 12% Supplement to Siete for the past 3 years and they have suddenly stopped making it. I'm sad because it was just what we needed to keep her weight down and give her what she needs to stay healthy. Any suggestions?

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  9. Victoria - we use a custom vitamin/mineral balancer pellet that is specially formulated for our area by a Wisconsin feed mill, so that's of no help to you. I would start by asking Triple Crown what they would recommend - they should have a substitute to propose.
    Otherwise you'll have to go through the painful process of comparing ingredient labels and researching NSCs. Sorry not to be of more help - perhaps some of you readers out there might have ideas for Victoria.

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  10. Thanks Kate. I did talk to Triple Crown and I have been comparing labels, but it's confusing. I don't want to give Siete too much protein and the TC folks said I should use either the 30% supplement, which has almost 3 times as much protein or their "lite" feed, which is what I took her off of when I switched to 12% three years ago. I wish I could find a custom formulated supplement like you describe. Do the people who make yours possibly have a source for doing that in New England? Thanks for all the advice.

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  11. Good horses all. It sounds as if you are making good progress on all fronts.

    Dawn's aversion to the ground poles still surprises me a bit, considering all the work you did with her last season. Just goes to show how long horses can hold on to bad memories.

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  12. Victoria - the farm supply/feed mill we deal with only is in Wisconsin, but I'll call them tomorrow and see if they know of an equivalent in the NE area.

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  13. Thanks Kate - I really appreciate your help!

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