Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cold, with Distractions

It was very cold today - the high was about 32F, with a wind chill in the 20sF, but this morning when I went to the barn to ride Dawn, the temperature was in the high teens F, with a wind chill of about 10F. It was a little bit warmer yesterday, but not much.  We're supposed to be up in the 50sF by the weekend . . .

All three horses had to deal with various distractions yesterday and today, in addition to the cold.  Yesterday, Dawn dealt very well with the Snake of Doom - one of the barn guys was spraying down the arena before dragging it, and was pulling the hose here and there and squirting various areas of the arena.  Dawn and I just kept on working, and she settled well and worked willingly - for some reason she finds crossing a hose much less worrying than going over a pole - she has "polephobia", I think due to some very bad prior experiences with jumping.  Today, it was very, very cold and there were many distractions - horses coming and going and various pieces of equipment entering and leaving the ring.  It took a while for her to relax, but we got there and by the end of our ride she was trotting around, relaxed, on a loose rein.

Yesterday, I rode Pie earlier than usual, which meant we were riding when horses were coming in from turnout.  (All three horses were in paddocks early - I had blood drawn for selenium tests - our part of the world produces low-selenium hay, but with the hay shortage, our barn is getting hay from all over, and my horses get a supplement with selenium, so best to check - selenium overdose is not something any of us want to deal with.)  Our barn has an unusual configuration - all the pastures open off the indoor arena, and horses have to lead through it to get to their stalls.  So Pie had to cope with that - new to him - and then had to stand in the barn aisle and watch the drag go around and groom the arena - big eyes but he dealt well with that.  Today we had doors opening and closing and lots of activity - again he did very well.  He also had a rabies shot yesterday, with some Banamine (to ward off inflammation due to his prior EPM), and a bit more Banamine today.  Our ride today was not to hard - perhaps 30 minutes of walk and trot work.  He did very well, and I worked hard at "bending right" myself to help him, which made a big difference.

Red is continuing his walk work under saddle - 25 minutes yesterday and 30 minutes today.  Yesterday, he cantered in well from the pasture, down the big hill - on the right lead, no less, which means he wasn't protecting his left hind.  Today, he and Pie came trotting together up to the gate at bring in time, and there was no visible unsoundness.  I'm thinking he's probably fine at the trot, but I'm waiting until the end of the week to try him out on the lunge.  Despite the cold today and yesterday, he did his walk work like a champ, and after initial distractions of doors opening and closing, and horses coming and going - he was very worried by this at first - he worked well at the walk.  Red is much more distractable that the average horse, and also can be somewhat "studdy", although less so with mares than with other geldings.  We gave him a depo provera shot (low dose - many people use much higher doses but my vet/chiro doesn't feel that's safe or justified in most cases) last May to help his transition to group turnout - it dampens adrenal action, leading to less reactivity and aggressiveness, and yesterday he had another shot.  If he had been in regular heavy work, this might not have been necessary, but we think it may help him cope as he comes back into work and not be so worried and nervous.  If he can get back into regular work and stay sound, it may be that he'll not need another shot - in fact I prefer his feisty personality when he's working hard.  It hasn't really taken effect yet, and his work was very good despite that.

Considering the cold, and the many distractions, I was delighted with all three horses and told them so!

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