Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Experiences

Life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. I’ve been gone so much and playing catch-up the days I was home. All is well and good though, nothing crazy.

Last weekend was a long one for me, and it was wonderful. Once I get the time to edit the few photos I got I will post more about it. A group of ladies and our horses headed up to the Spruce Knob area (WV's highest point) for 3½ days of riding. So nice to get away. It was even chilly enough to ride in long sleeves! Autumn weather seems to have really sunk in. Typical to this region of the Appalachians, our mornings are cool (in the 50s) with fog, and our afternoons are warm (in the upper 70s/low 80s), blue sky beautiful with a slight breeze. Oh and that humidity thing? GONE. THIS is why autumn is my favorite season. This is the kind of weather I LIVE for!

The upcoming weeks look good for lots of horse activity for me. The weather has become autumn-like in a hurry around here and I LOVE it. PERFECT trail riding/being outside weather. I’m excited to get out and enjoy it as much as possible. 

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Tuesday night both horses got to experience some new things - and they both exceeded my expectations.

Griffin was up first: After putting the bridle on him a week-ish ago, letting him stand with it on, then driving him with it, he has really begun to accept it. I decided to give things a go with him in full tack (sans flopping stirrups). On went the saddle pad, saddle, and girth. NBD. In with the bit and on with the bridle. NBD. He handled the bridling like an old pro. 

I left his halter on underneath to attach the lunge line to and put him through a bit of work. No bucking, no crow hopping, no nothing. Sure, kid has had a saddle on before, but its been AGES. He's a champ (and a dog hater. Speaking of dog, Kenai has reached a new level of horse bullying...biting at horses' hocks. This will be stopped in short order. Little snot thinks he can get away with murder while I'm working a horse. No more, no more. Zapping will occur next week. That's a promise.)

After a short lunging session with Griffin I wanted to see how he would do with flexing with pressure from the bit. He did a few circles before he realized that all I was asking him to do was flex to the side and not move his feet. Once that clicked he did it again and again with the slightest pressure. I hope he stays this soft!

Coming to see me in the field per his norm
He's a lover
And he ignores me sometimes

Ending on a positive note with Griffin, I moved on to Q: While my CoolBak girth has greatly helped with the saddle sliding situation, its still not 100% if we have an extended time on a downhill. The ride last weekend really proved that. Sure, it was something I could have walked down and not had this issue, but frankly, at as slow a pace with as many breaks as we took, Q wasn't in dire risk of injury. And, frankly, she's much more sure-footed than I!! I tend to be a clutz.

So, Tuesday night was the night to see how she would react to a crupper. *Joy* On went the saddle and girth with a bit more jigging than her norm. I figured with her being this cued up (the reason she got her name), if she would have an issue with a crupper, I would definitely know it.

I put the crupper on and adjusted it (I need to read up on this more to be certain) and she clamped her tail down, but nothing more. Okay.... She took a startled step or two while I went to get the lunge line, but nothing more. Hmm.... Onto the lunge line and out away from me. Her only response was first a clamped tail, then an awkwardly curved tail flag, and then she proceeded to flag her tail 85% normal with a slightly awkward curl. Well then.... Excellent. Lets go take a 10 minute ride and see what comes of this.

On went my helmet and off we went. She scooted around a little more than normal, but we never left the far field that she can still see home from, so its hard to say what the reason was for her excessive jigging. I got enough of a preview with the crupper on to trust her to not kill me if we do a steep trail ride with it - so that will come next week. Quite pleased with the little girl's reaction.

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Wednesday night I wanted to get in at least 10 miles on Q. I decided to do the rail trail and my mom joined me on her bike. Neither of us had someone to ride with and we travel at about the same pace. 

It was a BUSY night on the rail trail - a beautiful night, so its no wonder. Would have made for great promotional photos, too. Multiple bikes, some walkers, runners, and a horse all at the same point on the trail. Coexisting in happiness...but only because Q is such a champ and doesn't get freaked by all these things. 

She's lost most of her cresty neck, HURRAH! (post ride)

She got so used to mom on her bike that she started using her to pace off. Mom would get ahead, Q would canter faster to catch up and then slow into a wonderful rocking canter while she paced beside mom's bike. The only things she was startled/scared by on the trail were rocks (stationary), logs (stationary), and contrasting colors on the ground (i.e., dark soil [stationary]). So moving things in bright ass neon colors? NBD.

We ended up doing 14 miles and pulsing down to 60 bpm in 1h:34m. That's an average of 8.93 mph! So proud of this little horse!! In less than a week we have put in 39 miles. Tre bien, Q!

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And now, hoof photos!  Because everyone loves those! Okay, well, no, but SOME of you do!  

I took these post ride on Wednesday. What do you think? The horn of her hoof is still shit, but its getting better. She was really tender tonight on the pea gravel she used to be sound on. I think the Equine Senior I'm slipping into her alfalfa and other pelleted grain is potentially to blame. The sugars aren't high, but they're apparently high enough to make her tender.  Hmmm...  Please let me know what you think!!

Orange Rennies that look red from ipod photo editing
Left front
 Right front
Right hind
Left hind
Left front
Right front
Left hind
Right hind

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