2013-05-12 12.08.17I was searching my phone just now, looking for a photo from the weekend, and the only thing I could find was one of Rugby’s ears, as I hacked cooling him out, in the front field. I was just too busy to take photos.

On Saturday, although it was showery all day, I worked in the morning, then cleaned the house, worked on cleaning up the barn, moved horses around all day to graze, then when it looked like it would clear up, broke down the jump course, moved all the jumps to the center of the ring and stacked them, then got the tractor and pulled grass out of the corners with the bucket until my legs felt rubbery, then got the drag and fixed it and dragged the ring about an hour to break up grass and get the corners level. I didn’t ride, but lunged a couple.

On Sunday, the weather was better and I tacked up Rugby to see what we had today. He was pretty good so we had a nice 45-minute ride. Got a bath and back in stall for the day, as is usual now that the sun has started his damage. I got a slow feed hay net and stuffed it with about six flakes of timothy for him, and it has made a big change for him. First, he’s not tracking hay through his stall so much as he stall walks. Second, he’s eating more. It goes to show that he does not like the hay once he’s walked on it and has been limiting himself in the hay in the stall. Third, he has had a change in the poops — more balls and less plops. Those of you who are not “horsey” won’t get that, but what it means is that I need to pay attention to the water intake with the hay change, too. I’ll add a tiny  handful of salt tonight to his feed — which should encourage him to drink. He hardly walked at all yesterday, actually, because I hung the net near the side of the stall by his feed tub and pretty much he was standing there eating every time I looked. I can’t believe it took me that long to make a change for him but we’ll see if he does as well going forward. Who knew. Just a $10 hay net.

Hamish: he’s on a restricted, unlimited diet. What that means is, after he choked on the alfalfa meal last week, I realized I was actually feeding him out of habit and not actually because I was looking at his royal fatness. He’s on grass full time, with his buddy Odie, but he really doesn’t need grain so I have weaned him off gradually. Oh my this is not on Hamish’s list of Favorite Things, but he just doesn’t need it and he’s got plenty of grass to chew on. I saved him for last on Sunday intending to get in a jump school, but he’s at the end of his shoeing cycle and I felt him take a funky step after turning from the first gymnastic line, then he walked forward and stopped and the shoe was twisted and nearly off. He stood like a gentleman while I hopped off and pulled it off. So one-shoe Hamish and I just went on a hack on the grass and we’ll get a shoeing appointment this week. The hoof is sturdy and not in danger of cracking up and he’s not bothered in the least by it, so it’s all good. So the jump school consisted of three trot x’s and one gymnastic. Oh well.

Lucky drew out the day a bit. He is inconsistent in the bridle and we did the 20m circle Ad Nauseum until he stopped moving his jaw and tongue, and finally I stopped and tightened the flash a hole and that helped a little but he’s probably never going to be comfortable with a bit in his mouth in contact. I accept that but I’m still going to work to achieve some kind of contact, because he’s not a horse that can be ridden effectively in a bitless bridle – he blows through something without “bite”, and he’s too big and strong and opinionated to ride without control. (I’m not that suicidal yet.) After I tortured him on the flat, we jumped a little and he was really not feeling the love. He was running through and knocking down poles pretty much every attempt, just being a booger. I’d use my leg, I got kicked at. He’d deer jump, I’d slide the leg back – he’d kick or buck at me. That’s him. He’s got attitude if nothing else. I got off and reset jumps four times. I can do that on weekends, as I have the time. Finally I got two or three good, decent attempts thru a simple gymnastic of a cross rail to a little oxer set on 18 feet. He’s not done a lot of gymnastics, but he has jumped a lot of cross rails and it’s time to move up a little bit and get smarter about where his feet need to go. He thinks jumping is stupid, and there is no reason for his feet to leave the ground, thank you very much. I’ve had worse horses I’ve taught to jump so I’m not worried, but the bit thing is far more concerning because you can’t control a horse that does not want to accept the hand. We always seem to have work to do on Lucky!

I finished the day with moving the dressage arena blocks and boards for Brian to mow the front yard, weeded the last unweeded landscaping, and reset the dressage arena to the 20x40m size. A productive weekend but not as successful as I had hoped. From Facebook, “Horses know how you feel before you do,” and “I can’t afford NOT to have a horse in my life.” Great sentiments exactly on point.

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