Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eating it.

Or not.

Those of you who've been following along for a while might have gathered that my horse will pretty much eat anything. Sticks. Ropes. Plastic flowers off of obstacle decorations. The other day I moved my dry erase board on his stall door and accidentally put it within reach of the monster and soon after caught him in the act of taking off one of the magnets and trying to eat it. He's trying to give me a stroke.

So much to my surprise and disappointment, he's not a fan of the Tri-Amino. The first time he ate it... sometime overnight. The next morning he ate it but only after his hay was gone. Since then he's been leaving as much of it as he can and his lips are incredibly talented at taking the pellets and avoiding the powder, and not going back to it after hay. Instead he likes to kick bedding into it as if to say "Ha. NOW you won't try to make me eat it." Our friends Kate and Mare both suggested adding Cocosoya oil to it so I looked around for that. I can get it at EquusNow, but I'm really not in a hurry to go spend MORE money (considering I am not certain the supplement was worth paying for anyway) and then have the barn staff (myself included) have to deal with a liquid supplement. But I did order a "free sample" of the cocosoya oil directly from Uckele. If that works I'll go buy the jug and try to figure out the most mess-free way to set it up. Maybe I can find a pump big enough for the bottle.

This horse makes me work too hard. And sometimes I wonder if these companies that make things for horses are just laughing all the way to the bank. "Ha Ha! We'll make this supplement unpalatable so they'll have to ALSO buy THIS! Stupid horsewomen! Thinking their horses need all this stuff! Bwahaha!!!"

In other news, I had a lesson on Equitation and Showmanship with the clinician from our Show-N-Tell Clinic, JM. He was super relaxed for most of the ride and was really responsive and easy. Then she set up some cones and he became THAT horse. You know, the one who goes bug-eyed because there's cones set up and gets all inverted and jumpy. JM even asked if he was contested or did western riding. Not to my knowledge but sometimes I'm tempted to contact his breeder and ask exactly what the first 7 years of his life were like. So after 3 tries at the pattern he sort of listened. Changing directions AND gaits at the center cone is rather difficult for us. Lovely flying lead changes... if that's what I had asked for....

Showmanship was pretty great. The work I did since the clinic has seemed to work pretty well and JM agreed. He can learn so quickly when he wants to.

Sadly my next ride was horrible. I put on my western tack and he was a basket case. Wouldn't jog, wouldn't bend, wouldn't follow his nose. I ended up loping him in fast circles for half an hour thinking he'd get the edge off and pay attention, but NOPE. It was a lovely round fast lope, just not what I wanted to do with him. I think finally getting back on the grass has made him a little hot? We ended up working on loping to a halt/back over and over and over again and there seemed to be some progress there so it wasn't totally a wasted session, just rather odd behavior on his part. Much more like he was long ago and I do NOT want that horse back. In case it was soreness related I hosed him off and did the Alpha Stim all over. I did notice (first time I've really sweated him under the new saddle) that he had small dry patches on either side of his withers. They were smaller than with the old saddle but I know that's not a good sign as far as saddle fit goes. We'll see how he is tonight. I'll photograph the sweat pattern if I get one.


  1. I too hope the oil works...but for my powdered supplements on dry grain, I just splash a small amount of water on it to help stick the powder to the grain so he can't sift through it.

    As far as the riding goes, I've been going through a rough patch, but finally seemed to get out of it again. As reminded, riding is a dance and we have to take the good rides with the bad and always be reminded why those bad ones were that way - what was different? It seems your trying that tact in thinking it could be the grass, which may be a possibility. But horses also have a mind of their own and he could have just not been feeling it that day. Which leads me to the dry spots. Now, considering where they are, Im inclined to say that it isnt making contact there which results in the dry spots. If this is a new development and he normally has solid sweat marks, I would say that he simply wasnt lifting his back and working over himself properly that ride. However, you didnt give us that control that it was a solid mark before that ride so.... Dry spots do indicate that something isnt fitting right. If it continues to happen I might have another saddle fitter out to assess this new one.

    Oh and your lesson reminded me of mine yesterday on a western riding horse. Beautiful changes, just not when I asked for them!! LOL

  2. @ Milo, The spots used to be much larger, so perhaps it's an improvement at least, though not as good as they could be. His conformation is really tough to fit, according to my chiro and she hasn't been out to see this saddle yet. It's the first time he's acted that way in the saddle so hopefully it's not that. He felt really round and forward during the ride and actually was able to stop pretty well rounded much of the time, but we're still trying to fill out his topline and maybe with more developed topline those dry spots will diminish. If it's not one thing it's another! If only I was as concerned with my own health and wellbeing!

  3. I've got one of those horses with the talented lips that can eat around all the medicine and supplements. They are a challenge, all right.

  4. Funny how horses will eat brushes, magnets, hay bags, bandages... but ask them to eat a supplement and suddenly they're not hungry. SmartPak makes a little pellet that is supposedly super tasty that you mix in with their food and it makes them want to lick the bowl clean. I haven't tried it, but that was next on my list if Lilly kept snubbing her nose at her alfalfa pellets. Luckily she's recently taken a shine to them, so we're good for the time being.

    Sorry to hear you had a not so good ride. Horses do seem to have days like we do where they just don't feel like doing anything, so hopefully the next ride is better. Maybe he was sore from the lesson?

    How big are the dry spots on his withers? They're not always bad depending on where and how big they are.

  5. Hint: a splash of water makes most of the powder stick to the pellets. Mr. Shiny also hates powdered things and is a confirmed picky beast. But if it's all stuck together, he can't snuffle it out. And you don't have to pay anything extra for a bit of water.

  6. I hate to say this but have you ever tried round pen work before you get into the saddle. If he is not underweight it was always my understanding that top line comes more with working the muscles along the back and butt. If he is underwt or not getting enough protein and fat than like a human body builder he will not be able to build more muscle but this is not usually the case with horses as we are not pushing them to such extremes. My trainer suggests lunging on a hill, a lot of changes in direction, a lot of up and down conversions in gait, and yes work over cavaletti and round poles, as well as hilly trails. But we have also started working our mare in the round pen, she lost a lot of top line and muscling over the winter and has been building it back slowly partly because we also had to build up her wt, skinny older TB. Instead of longing before riding we have been working in the round pen asking for roll back type change in direction she is doing them at the walk, trot, canter, and gallop and while a bit hard on her legs (probably not worse than she does on her own in the pasture) really forces her to engage her back, abs, and butt (I can actually see them contracting and relaxing). Anyways we have been on it 3-4 times a week for about 3 weeks roughly 5-10min before each ride as a type of warm up and we can see a difference. Since you are not in the saddle they are more likely to avoid hollowing and engage the back, especially if you do it without a saddle. Just thought I would add it as a suggestion since you said he does not do cavaletti or ground poles well, plus if your body is sore it is a good workout without having to get in the saddle.

    Otherwise we sometime mix a bit of sugar water into the feed (you can use a spritz bottle) to make it taste better and stick.

  7. @ValientDancer:
    The hill work is something we are just now being able to utilize since the ground is finally drying out. I don't think I have enough of a hilly space to lunge him but that would be really good. He still gets very nervous out on the trail/field so he's not able to relax and get round and though his stride is much lengthened, it's going to take a while for him to relax enough to round himself up. If I try to put him there, he increases his tension and starts to jig and get even more inverted. I think we're going to have to walk those hills loosely for a good while until he stops worrying about the woods. It gets better each time, but I can't ask him to work there yet unless I want to get dumped.

    We do some round pen work, but my Dressage trainer has really emphasized the need for him to be ridden (in 2-point to stay off the back, or in posting on different diagonals to help even out the movement) so that he can be put into the correct posture. He doesn't tend to round up in the pen, even with roll backs. The other alternative is driving lines, but we haven't tried that yet.