Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to win an election

If the choices in the neighborhood, unaware that you know coconut shell move. The streets are lined with flags and improvised mini political party offices, although the Parliament is not dissolved. Ang pow packets, free food, gifts, money, and keep, distributed almost daily. If you have a cell phone, party a few questions WINS, votes, or I receive text message (SMS). 

Not only a local politician (which I don't know) has a generic to me, I have even a birthday greetings for mother's day, though I do not come into consideration. In any case, give this tactic similarities with advice in the ancient Roman letters "How to win an election"?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Loose Rein Cantering

I'm a big fan of loose rein cantering - with a horse that knows how to canter under saddle, and has some relaxation plus forward built in through foundational softening work at the walk and trot, it can be a great way to help the horse develop balance and self-carriage.

Red had a day off today - a friend and I went out to lunch with another friend, who is 95 (has a little trouble getting around but is otherwise sharp as a tack) and living in a retirement community nearby - so I was short of time.  Red and I did some "just standing around" work in the arena - he and I both find this very relaxing and useful - for a horse who used to fidget and couldn't stand still or notice I was there, he's come a very long way.  We just stand there together, breathing together, and it is very fine.

This morning, Dawn and I did some very nice loose rein canter work, and Pie and I did some more in the afternoon.  It's a great test - will the horse maintain a balanced, relaxed, forward - energy but no rushing - rhythmic canter without your interference?  Will the horse track into the corners, or cut them?  Will the horse maintain/sustain the canter or break to trot before you ask?  All of these things will reflect the quality and consistency of the foundational work and how you are sitting and riding.  And you can't rely on your hands to fix things - they have to be right in and of themselves.

Both Dawn and Pie did exceptionally well.  Pie and I have also just started on walk/canter transitions, and he's already very close to having them - but it depends on me mentally preparing for canter - thinking the rhythm - to the point that all I have to do for him to strike off is exhale.  He's getting the idea, and I think it'll come together pretty quickly.

Good horses all around - I am very blessed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Better Than Wonderful

Pie's been absolutely fine since his colic attack last weekend - it was probably the weather.  I in fact dewormed all my horses on Tuesday, using Equimax.  I like to wait for the first frost to do this, but the first frost is getting later every year - the average first frost date for our part of the world used to be October 4, but we're way past that for the past several years, and there's no frost in sight for now.  I love it that all my horses are perfect for deworming and meds by mouth - Red tosses his head up and down a little bit but that's all - the other two don't even move.  Dawn used to be "hold on to my halter and I'll throw you around the stall" but my daughter taught her to stand still using approach/release a number of years ago when she had to have antibiotics by mouth every day for over a month due to a tooth abscess.

I've been taking care of my friend's (who had the fall and the broken scapula) horse.  He is fairly ouchy in the hindquarters, particularly the right hind, and somewhat snatchy with his hind feet when I'm picking them, and a little stand-offish.  When I tried some massage on his right hind, he tried to kick and was clearly very unhappy.  But lately, he's been coming around.  Yesterday for the first time he nickered at me and allowed me to do some massage on his back and right hind - he seemed to appreciate it.

This morning, Dawn had the morning off - our rides over the past days have been just wonderful, including some very nice almost-collected trot work and some very good sustained canter work.  I rode both Red and Pie this afternoon - gorgeous weather in the 60s with sun - around the pastures and then in the outdoor arena.  Red is very sound again and moving well.  He was wonderfully forward and soft at the same time, and he offered some very nice trot and left lead canter work - his left hind was the leg that was injured so we're not doing right lead canter work yet.  We're not working long - only about a half hour - and he was tired by the time we were done.  He needs to rebuild his fitness after two weeks of only walk work, but was very willing and an absolute delight to ride.

Pie and I also had an outstanding ride outside.  His trot is reliably engaged and soft, and his canter work just gets better and better.  He canters around and around in the outdoor arena - the track goes a bit up and downhill as well - with a lovely cadence and balance, and when I ask for more softness and engagement, it's right there.  Then we did a tour of both pastures, and Pie actually asked if he could herd a group of geese - I left him to it and we had some fun.

Better than wonderful!

Monday, October 7, 2013

So Far, So Good

Pie seems to be completely back to normal.  I visited him in the pasture this morning after riding Dawn, and he was chowing down on the grass and was perfectly comfortable.  His stall wasn't torn up, which meant he'd been quiet in the night, he'd finished all his night hay and eaten his breakfast, and there was plenty of manure.  While I was checking on him in the pasture, he considerately passed a nice pile of completely normal manure.  And this afternoon, we had a lovely ride in the pasture - it had been very cold and windy this morning but the sun was out and it was a beautiful afternoon.

I expect it was the weather change that triggered his discomfort, making him gassy.  Fortunately, he's a big drinker and I never have to worry about him getting dehydrated and having an impaction.  Maisie was prone to that, as she was a poor drinker in the winter, even with a heated bucket.

So far, so good, but I'll be keeping a close eye on him to be sure all is well.

Minor (I Hope) Colic Attack

Pie wasn't feeling quite right last night.  He was pretty normal when I groomed him and picked his feet at around 5 p.m., and was eating normally.  At about 7 p.m. I got a call from the barn - the (knowledgeable) boarder who was in the aisle noticed that he was pawing.  She checked his gut sounds, which were normal, and there was manure in the stall. Then he laid down - she said he seemed uncomfortable.

I put down what I was doing (finishing dinner), jumped in the car and went to the barn - at times like this it's nice that it's 5 minutes away.  Pie was up when I got there, but one side was completely covered in shavings - he'd clearly been lying flat, although not rolling.  When he had his repeating colics back in the fall of 2011, he would lie flat to ease the pain.  We now think those colics were attributable to swollen lymph nodes in his abdomen due to Lyme and/or EPM.

He didn't look terrible - he was alert and responsive, his belly wasn't tucked up and his gums were a nice pink with good capillary refill - but he was clearly somewhat uncomfortable - he reacted with pinned ears when I ran my hands over the left side of his belly.

So I put his halter on, gave him a 1,000-lb. dose of oral Banamine and took him into the indoor arena.  We walked around for a bit, then I let him loose.  He didn't paw or roll, just walked around a bit and sniffed things, or just stood there looking at me.  I did some massage on his tail and hindquarters, and then his sides, to see if that would release some gas.  He stood there and seemed to appreciate it, and there was no ear-pinning.

After a bit, he said he was done with that and headed off to the door to his barn aisle, which was closed, and stood there - he seemed to feel better already, although the oral Banamine wouldn't have taken effect yet.  I opened the door for him and he headed off to his stall.  When he got in there, he started eating bits of hay - a very good sign.  I said goodnight and headed home.

I called the barn owner and she said she would check on him later.  She texted me at about 9:30 p.m. that he seemed fine, and there was fresh manure in his stall.

If he has another colic attack, I'll have him retested for Lyme and EPM, although he was tested fairly recently and doesn't show any symptoms of either disease.  Our weather changed very abruptly yesterday - the high was in the 80s the day before yesterday, 60s yesterday and the temperatures were heading to the 40s overnight.  I think his colic may have just been due to the weather change and the big changes in barometric pressure.  I hope so - keeping fingers crossed that all is well with my Pie-Pie.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In the Company of Fine Horses

I had a delightful day with my three horses today.  You know fine dining?  Good food, good company, a wonderful experience.  Well, today I had fine riding - a wonderful experience in its own right - good horses, all.

My day started early with Dawn - I usually ride her 5 mornings a week early before anyone else gets to the barn - she objects strongly (this word doesn't do it justice) to being ridden in the arena with another horse.  She's a middle-aged lady now - she's 16 - and I honor her preferences.  Lately, every ride, she's been offering more and more softness even when I don't do anything particular to ask for it.  Her trot is amazing, soft, relaxed and swinging and we do almost-collected trot and lateral work just on a thought. What a splendid mare she is - I hope she knows it - and I immensely enjoy her nose rests while we're grooming.

Red is just more and more willing and solid.  He's now, as of yesterday, completely sound again at the trot - the swelling in his left hind is almost gone - just a small hard lump - and he no longer is asking for massages of his left hindquarters, which means he feels pretty good.  He's very alert and interested in everything, and just as willing as he can be.  Yesterday we dealt with string trimmers - the lawn service was working along the edge of the aluminum arena with a string trimmer - making a horrible noise - he was pretty alarmed by this so I got off and stood with him while they worked - eyes like saucers, but he stayed with me.  Afterwards we did 10 trot lengths of the arena - bareback - he seems to really like this - and today we did 15 lengths while it was pouring rain and very noisy in the arena - what a fine horse he is.

And Pie and I have been having wonderful rides - more geese herding Friday and then today, during the rain storm, some excellent soft trot and canter work.  His canter has come such a long way and just gets better and better - last winter he had great trouble even cantering around the corners in our small arena.  Now he just canters around and around on a loose rein, with a relaxed, even cadence - I think he actually enjoys it, although being Pie, he especially enjoys just standing still on a loose rein in the middle.

There's nothing better in this world than three fine horses!