Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Boys and Their Antics

I've been having a lot of fun with the boys lately, partly because they're spending a good part of the day in paddocks close to the barn due to Pie needed to be off grass for the month of June.  Pie's now up to 30 minutes of grazing and Red did almost 2 and 1/2 hours today, so they're starting to get some herd time.  Red is much happier - Pie isn't yet as he's not getting enough but he's a pretty laid-back guy so it's not too much of an issue for him.

My routine right now is to go to the barn in the early morning - the boys are already in their paddocks - and turn them out for their grazing time with the herd.  The grazing pastures are probably at least a quarter mile away, so off they go - lately at a fairly sedate canter.  Then I bring in Pie after his short time out - he's been a very good boy, coming with me immediately without complaint - and ride him and put him back in his paddock.  Then I bring Red in and ride him later.

Red's very funny when I bring him in - he wants to graze with the herd but he's also really concerned about Pie.  The minute I halter him in the pasture and start to lead him in, he's totally focussed on getting back to the barn and Pie.  He'd like to go there as fast as possible but leads nicely for me, calling for Pie the whole way - and sometimes he does these "half whinneys" - strangled little calls - very funny.

Earlier this week, on the first days Pie was getting out a little, the boys did some mad running at racehorse speeds - the pair of them running flat out from one end of the pasture and back again several times before they settled down to graze.

And one day last week - after a rain when the ground was pretty muddy - I committed the error of wearing (decent, clean, not stained) "real people" clothes to the barn to turn Red out - in fact my husband and I were planning to go out to lunch.  As I let Red go at the gate, he bolted off, throwing huge gobs of mud into the air with each stride - and a lot of that mud landed in my hair, on my glasses, in my teeth - I had to floss to get the grit out - and all over my front - I was plastered.  There went the lunch plans - and the clothes went into the wash.

In the p.m., when I'm not riding, I sometimes take Red on a "walk around" to satisfy his need to get out and around.  I lead him up and down the barn aisles, allowing him to touch noses with all his herdmates.

One benefit of our current schedule is that the boys are getting used to coming in and being ridden at all times of the day and now find this perfectly normal.  I'm currently not riding Pie on the trail - I want to see what the eye specialist has to say first.  I've had a couple more instances indicating that Pie's eyesight may not be all right.  One day, we were riding in the arena and water buckets were being cleaned in the wash stall next to the arena - oddly, the entrance to the little barn (where we live) to the arena is through a small wash stall.  There is a drain in the floor of the wash stall that is covered by a large shiny, silver aluminum plate, and this was removed and resting against the wall of the wash stall.  Now Pie walks willingly across this plate every day coming and going from turnout, but it was vertical and very shiny and reflective.  He saw it as we came around the arena, stopped suddenly and then did the skittering sideways/backwards thing until he got to a safe distance - I was prepared and in a defensive position with a hand on the horn so I didn't come off.  Once he'd looked, I asked him to slowly approach, which he did willingly, snorting the whole way.  Once he'd approached, he was fine with it and we went on with our ride and he ignored it.

Then a couple of days later, I was bringing Red and Pie in together.  When I do that, the door to the washstall into our barn is too narrow for both horses, so I send Pie ahead - he walks through and into his stall.  When we do this, the lights in the back barn - which is otherwise quite dark - and washstall are normally on.  That day, the lights were off.  Pie went through willingly ahead of Red and me, but once he got into the dark barn aisle he got confused and couldn't find his stall and ended up down the aisle by the door to the tackroom - luckily he didn't go in.  When I went to retreive him, he was startled by my approach.  Poor fellow - I hope the eye doctor has some answers.  The good news is that he navigates fine and seems to see OK except in very bright or very dim light or when there are reflective surfaces.

And today, I got to ride Dawn for the first time in two weeks.  The cuts on the right hind from the kick seem to be healing just fine, and the swelling on the inner upper side of the lower left hind, while still there to some degree, is no longer sensitive or soft.  Since she's been off for two weeks, I'd take two weeks anyway to bring her back into full work even if she's 100% sound, and today we just walked under saddle for 15 minutes.  I didn't ask her to do too much, just relaxed walking in straight lines and on large turns.  She was a peach - completely relaxed and willing - sweet Dawn mare.

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