Not too long until I’ll be able to get to the barn on weekdays again…spring, please come soooon!
Most of my weekend plans were foiled by the nasty, crusty snow we had up north. The foot and change of snow was topped by an inch or two of ice, which made the going really, really tough anywhere that was not plowed or snowmobiled through. Unfortunately, the trails that back up to the barn are not snowmobile trails — they’re private ones, obviously, that we have to blaze to get out to the state forest. Once you hit the state forest, the trails are usually gorgeous because of the snowmobiles. Until then, though, it can be slow going. I wasn’t going to ask my still out of shape horse to trudge through that much ice and snow. That ix-nayed my bareback plans, as bareback is an at-home option only right now. So, I decided to saddle up so we could poke down the road for a nice walk.
|Playing supervisor while I did stalls. Dolly the Border Collie making supervising us both. PS: Take note of plastic bag in corner of stall…we tried pellets this weekend. See below for detals!|
Poke. I wanted to POKE. Just a niiice little walk.
Simba had other ideas. I did not ride a horse on Saturday. I rode a palomino fire breathing dragon.
It was cold, it was snowing, it was “Monday” morning for him, and we were on the dirt roads, where we can usually move out a little on nice days. Not so on Saturday. So, there was constant discussion:
“Can I go?”
“How about now?”
“Pleeeeaaaaasssseeeee?” (commence head tossing and sideways jigging)
“NO. Walk, damn it!”
(insert equivalent of an equine huffy exhale here) “FINE.”
He desperately wanted to just GO. I didn’t trust the footing under the snow on the roads, and with the saddle restricting shoulder movement, I’m not interested in trying to do much more than flat walk for awhile. I have a lot of flat walking to do to redevelop the running walk as is, so the more I can do while I’m in the Duett, the better. It is, however, REALLY FREAKING HARD to just walk when your horse has a firecracker lit under his tail!
I joke about that, but honestly, he is a relatively safe horse. He doesn’t buck, he doesn’t bolt, he doesn’t rear, he doesn’t do high speed spins or any serious spooking…he just wanted to power through my aids and get a move on! He was still (mostly) respectful, just very “loud” about expressing his opinion! I LOVE this aspect about him. I can deal with goofy and opinionated. I’ve had my fill of slightly dangerous and explosive, I think!
|“You’ve kind of set off an eternal winter…*everywhere*” (NO THE FROZEN REFERENCES WILL NEVER EVER STOP EVER)|
We returned to the barn looking like Abominable Snow Monsters. I cooled him out, gave him his lunch hay, and tossed him back in the paddock. Then I hunked down in the house with the inside critters under a blanket until dinner time because I am so. fucking. done. with snow. Pardon my language, but I am SO DONE with winter. Everyone else is too — this is not an unpopular opinion right now — but holy hell, I have had enough!
Sunday I was lazy. I took one look at the fresh snow on top of the crunchy icy crap, sighed, and decided to just do stalls, “groom” my horse, and high tail it for home.
Speaking of stalls, I did experiment with pellets this weekend. I am not going to mark it as a success until I see Messy Marvin (D’s nickname for him, along with Fabio…because hair. Lots of hair) this upcoming weekend. He was, however, DRY on Sunday when I checked his belly, and I was able to knock off some really disgusting dried pee off of his usually-soaked belly. The pellets were able to absorb much more of the urine and keep it off of him, and keep the stall from being a complete disaster because it’s so easy to clean. I am hopeful that this is going to solve a lot of the issuesThat being said, this does not change my ultimate plan to kick his furry yellow butt outside. Pellets will be a back up for when he does have to be stalled if they do what I hope they’re going to do.
Anyway, now that I’ve sidetracked myself…I did do a teeny bit of groundwork in the driveway with Yellow Horse before trudging home on Suinday. He has been having some issues with backing up softly and with energy, so on top of some very slow walk lunging on the safer side of the driveway, we worked on backing up.
It’s obvious he’s only been asked to back up a couple of steps at once. So, we started with that. When he was softly backing away from me with just a cluck, I asked for a little more. He did not like this. At all. Once he hit a certain amount of steps, he would get sticky and start ignoring my cues until I ramped it up. At one point, I had to give him a good thwack with my dressage whip on the chest to get him to move out of my space. He did not like this, but moved. I let him rest on that one for a moment, before asking him again.
He pinned his ears and snaked his head out at me.
Um. Ex-cuuuuse me?
Unacceptable. I got after him quite harshly for that one and he backed his sorry ass all the way back up the driveway, and then back down. He very quickly realized he had made a Big BooBoo, and by the time we hit the barn again, he was backing away from me off my body language with medium energy with his head down.
Bad pony got forehead rubs when we stopped, and I ended with some easy hindquarter yielding, which he is quite good at. Once he was done, I brought him back into the barn, scraped him off some more, and then kicked him back outside. I realized I had a handful of cookies left in my pocket, so before going home, I slogged my way through the snow in the paddock, where Simba met me half way with happy ears and many kisses (which he now does on command because I am a DORK).
|I’m cute. Now give me cookies. Pronto!|
I’m not sure if he was just in a crabby mood, or if he just REALLY hates backing up for more than a few steps, or what that was all about, but I certainly got my point across. We’ll be revisiting that again this weekend to see if the lesson stuck. Hopefully, he got the message and is going to be less of a punk.
He’s special…in the best possible way. But he’s definitely special!
Over and out until next weekend, unless I get inspired to finish any of the TEN random posts I have going that are product reviews, stories from BB (Before Blog), and the backstory to the new tattoo.