Saturday, January 17, 2009

This is why I didn't ride during the winter in Minnesota.

Brrr. It was about 24 degrees today but the wind chill had it down much further. Both of his buckets were frozen solid for the first time. I had no idea what to do. I mean, I'm not an idiot I know I can figure out how to get ice out of a bucket, but I'm also smart enough to know there's gotta be a method that works and lots of methods that don't. No one was around to ask. I think my method worked okay. I drained the water that I could outside. Then, while doing my other tasks, I set the buckets in the sink in the bathroom. There was a big sign over the sink that said DO NOT DUMP BUCKETS IN SINK.... Okay. Then I took them outside and flipped them over and the ice came right out. Nice. Hopefully the in-sink thawing is allowed...

The arena is really packed hard right now and with no one else there I didn't want to ride. I took him on the lunge line, took his coat off in the arena (next time I'll leave it in the heated office!). We're not supposed to free lunge (barn rules) but I was really tempted today. There was no one there. But I didn't. I walked him around and tried to get him to move a bit. He was very disrespectful overall. I'm sure he's bored and has cabin fever but he crossed the line too many times today. He's so smart and I now know the difference between when he doesn't know what I'm asking and when he is simply not doing what I'm asking. Today was a case of not doing what I asked. He seemed like he had energy but didn't know what to do with it and didn't want to just lunge it out. I might start taking showmanship lessons, not with a goal of showing, but with the hope that KAT can help me teach him better manners. I've never worked with a horse with such a strong desire to have his nose right in my face all the time. It's worse, of course, when he's really energetic. He also won't stand next to me if I'm leading him and we stop. He'll swing his butt out and face me. I just don't know what the steps are to fix that. After a while he started listening to me more and then finally decided to burn that energy and he ran around me, bucked a little and even squealed a few times. I didn't want him to get too sweaty since it's so cold so I made him jog for a while and then walk for a while. I made him stand in the arena with the line folded and draped over his neck and put his blanket on. It was so cold it sounded crispy like I remember jackets doing in super cold weather in MN.

He's been difficult to lift his front feet lately. He's fine on the back, practically picks them up for me, but his front ones are a different story. Could this mean something? I can't see anything about his hooves that is different...he does not move with any signs of lameness, and he was trimmed in December. He used to be fine with the fronts. Then for a bit I would have to work harder for the right front (the last one I do). Now I have to work really hard to get either front. Maybe this isn't good, but I've taken to sort of poking him with the hoof pick and saying "pick it up" and releasing the pressure when he lifts it. I tried other things first. If I lean into him to try to transfer his weight to the other side he leans hard against me. I tried squeezing his tendons but I have really small (and apparently weak) hands and that didn't have a response. Again, I know he knows I want his hoof, he's either choosing to not give it, or something is making it uncomfortable to lift. Considering he's not showing any lameness I'm more inclined to think he's just being a poop, just like his swinging his rear so I can't get to his on side to tack him up, and just like him grabbing the lunge line, etc. and refusing to let go.

He's still my good boy, though. He gives good kisses. Hopefully we get a ride in tomorrow and I can try out my fancy new pad! It was on back order for EVER. It's THIS ONE in black. It should eliminate both the slippage and high wither issues. We'll see.

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