Sometimes I will be talking to non-horse friends and listing out what I have been up to and I realize I’m just talking too much and no one cares about all the things I’ve been doing in the barn and with the horses, lol. So here’s what the boys and I have been up to! I’ll leave out the exciting parts like picking feet every night, thrush, and moving hay all around between the loft and barn.
Phoenix had made it pretty clear he wasn’t comfortable barefoot in front so after talking with the vet he got front shoes put back on last week and is so much happier. Honestly his attitude has improved! I thought he was turning into an old man grump on me there for a bit. He wore aluminum natural balance shoes before he retired so we put the steel version on this time. Of course he celebrated by running around like a loon and injuring his left hind. I think some kind of sprain since he’s sound now although the puffiness seems to come back when he stands around still. I’ve been wrapping him in back at night to get the fill out and because it makes me feel better, lol.
Stampede is pretty much the reason P was running around like a loon, you know those boys do everything together. Stampede seems to love the cooler weather and celebrates but running around ripping up the wet ground. I’ve tried to tell him that means less grass next year but he doesn’t listen. So far I’ve been able to keep him off any meds for his arthritis but I’m interested to see how the winter goes since it’s always been worse then.
My main discussion with the vet regarding Stampede is how he’s impossible to keep weight on. He spends too much time fruiting and not enough time eating during the day. So this past Sunday I got 50 bales of alfalfa delivered for the special needs horse. Interested to see if night-time alfalfa will do the trick for his weight. Like I mentioned before he’s still on his pre-retirement grain ration already and he usually eats half a bale of hay overnight.
When we had electrical work done in the barn to prepare for winter the electrician was very clear that we need to be careful about what all we are running because we only have 20 amps in the barn. Heating the outside trough, inside water buckets, running lights, etc is going to get us dangerously close to our max. I bought a specific trough heater that is made for where you live in the country so I can use less amps there (well less than people living north of me anyways!). I also bought one of the smartpak bucket insulator covers to try out. Review coming once it gets cold enough for my inside buckets to freeze (please just don’t get that cold). So far we’ve been spared and a night in the 20’s left even the uninsulated buckets still unfrozen inside. We did get our first snow though! Thankfully it didn’t stick.
Last week when the temperatures dropped we noticed that big blue the tractor was not feeling so good. He was stalling out right after you would start him and he sounded really squeaky in general as he motored the poop out to the pile. I put in an SOS call and big blue headed off to the tractor hospital yesterday for some R&R. Come back soon big blue, we miss you! Until then we have our stand in little green and his cute little pull cart. Last night’s poop dumping was a success but it does mean nightly dumping versus every other day.
Due to a Mark Leone clinic going on at the barn last weekend I didn’t get a Saturday lesson or get to jump but I did ride on my own during the lunch break. Saturday it rained almost the entire day which was depressing for horses and humans alike.
I did however get to watch two sessions of the clinic (one each day) and was reminded of several great exercises to work on with Maestro. The main one being cantering allll the poles and working on changing his stride to get different amounts between the poles. Mark even said to just put poles out and not count it out to fit the 12′ standard and ride it different ways. He also suggested switching it up to cantering in and trotting the next pole before cantering a third pole. Really working on all kinds of responsiveness and precision. I was definitely glad I didn’t do the clinic this year, there were several times I know I would have felt over faced (I’m talking about you straw jump that was two bales wide and two bales tall in the 2’6″ section). I certainly think we could have done it but I’d rather be in a position to be a confident rider for my young horse and I just haven’t jumped enough and don’t know my horse well enough. Also his courses always have a lot of turns and with lead changes not being 100% (or honestly 80%) it would have stressed me out trying to get around. I know we can jump the jumps it’s the in between that needs work!
I’ve still been trying different bits on Maestro. I like him in a Myler level 2 (no hooks) but it’s a bit too much braking power (ie on the flat he’s less inclined to go forward and sometimes I overuse the bit when he gets up jumping because Stampede habits) and I like him in a Waterford but he’s more inclined to go llama to contact with it at first request to collect. I’m pretty sure he dislikes tongue pressure which is why he likes the Myler. I’ve also tried a plain D, copper lozenge, Myler level 1 (no hooks), and a Dr. Bristol. Bit needs to be legal for showing. Any suggestions?
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