May 27, 2014

Sore Feet...what to do, what to do...

Poor Hugo. He is suffering from sore spring feet. After going through this with Rose, struggling for her to stay sound year after year, and finally putting shoes on her, everything in me screams put shoes on him! I will never go through that with a horse of mine again. In hindsight, I see Hugo showing all the signs that I made excuses to look past when Rose was sore. Even when she wasn't "sore" she was sore. I just really didn't want to admit it. In my defence, I was honestly worried for a while that she would kill any farrier that tried to shoe her. So, positive health reasons for not shoeing a horse aside, I also had that concern going for me. In the end though, she didn't care at all about being shod and was so much happier and sound...all the time...on any surface. I really wish I had shod her when she was 4 or 5. Oh well.

However, Hugo is not my horse, and I imagine his feet will toughen up here in a few weeks with diligent care and he will be sound enough. EB is taking that route, so I hope his toes do toughen up. Really, for her sake I hope he really comes sound too. It would be nice if she could get by without shoeing him. However, I'm skeptical as his diet and lifestyle are not exactly barefoot friendly. Time will tell.

As for me though, his sore feet meant no riding yesterday. Poo. Plus I have my volunteer meeting on Wednesday evening, so no riding then either. It's a no riding week for me. Kind of a bummer after having such a great time with Hugo last week. But that's just how it goes when you are a pick up rider. Picking up rides when you can get them. Oh well. Note to self...go jogging this week.

So what to do with the free time I have at the moment? I guess I should get started on Dom's painting. Remember that? Yeah, I have a million reasons and excuses as to why I haven't started it. But they are more or less all moot now, so I wont bore you all with them and I will just go get to painting!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

May 22, 2014

Back in the Tack

It's been a great week on the riding front. The weather finally came around on Friday, and EB asked if I'd be free to ride Hugo on Saturday. Of course! It was lovely weather and a beautiful day to ride. The only mistake I made that day was forgetting sunblock. I ended up with one heck of a farmer's tan burn. To make it worse, before I realized how burnt I was, I of course drove around town with my Jeep windows down, so my driver's side arm was far more burnt than my other arm. In hindsight I should have spent the extra twenty minutes driving home and back to the barn for some sunblock. I like to say that with age comes wisdom. That saying makes me feel better about getting older. However, this is a good example of that not being the case. Oh well.

Best view in the world.
At any rate, on Saturday, Hugo seemed happy to see me, but also seemed to have completely forgotten who I was once I hopped on him. He tried some silly evasive maneuvers, which he's gotten away with in the past with other riders. He QUICKLY remembered who I was at that point though and knocked it off and got down to business and we had a nice ride. Lots of walk/trot transitions and leg yields.

Prior to the ride though, I of course longed him. Since this summer, at least, is the summer of learning to longe like a polite grown up horse. That means he gets longed before every single ride, whether he "needs it" or not. He was great at the walk and trot, so I decided to ask for a canter and see what I got. Right now the goal is to get him cantering in circles nicely on command, without him bolting off across the arena, longeline in tow. He was a very good boy and gave me one nice circle before coming down to a halt and being rewarded for his efforts. I stopped longeing him at that point to just make it very clear that that was the correct behavior and he was a good boy. Gold star for Hugo.

On Monday night, the weather was once again in my favor to ride, however it had poured rain on Sunday, so the arena was a soggy mess. We kept things quiet and easy and at the walk-trot only.

Yesterday night, things had dried up and the weather once again was beautiful. We cantered one circle in each direction on the longeline before ending his longe lesson. Two gold stars for Hugo. Then undersaddle, we did our usual routine, but cantered in both directions on a 20m circle. He is getting better at cantering from the leg cue, instead of the kissy sound, which is encouraging. However, I was unable to get him to pick up his left lead canter. I think it is partially an old habit (never being asked for the correct lead as a trail horse) and lack of muscle. With practice and time he should start to get it eventually. He certainly canters on his left lead when running around on his own. So he does have it.

Just chillin' at the hitching post. Ready to go to work.
That is my big goal for under saddle work for him for the moment. Left lead canter. He is such an easy going boy, he's just a pleasure to hang out with and ride. I can see him being a really nice steady eddie school master in a few years.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

May 13, 2014

Crickets...wet soggy cold crickets...

Alright, there aren't any literal crickets. Just the proverbial ones. I know that I've been very MIA on this blog as of late. But, there really hasn't been much to blog about. Since my last post I have not ridden once. NOT ONCE! Ugh. Mostly I blame the weather, but also I have had a huge upswing in work load. So the combination of those two constraints has eliminated my ability to get in a saddle. The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow, when I would normally ride, but as luck would have it I have an evening meeting for a board that I volunteer on. Here's to hoping that the nice weather hangs around long enough for me to ride next week!

The wet soggy weather has helped me come to a realization. When we build our arena someday it will at least be covered. Not being able to ride 6 months out of the year due to snow and then spring rain really seems silly to me, now that I have experienced trying to ride at an outdoor arena only facility. Definitely something to jot down in the notebook.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


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