Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Easy Keeper and Student

Tell me I don't have an easy keeper. I can not ride for a week, even two weeks and have the same horse I had when I last rode. I haven't had him off for more than that, but I think he'd be good. Sure, we might need a 5 minute refresh, but he's been bouncing right back. It's great knowing that when life gets hectic, I don't have to feel guilty if I can't get out to the barn. I mean, if I was showing or something, sure, I'd be out there, but the pleasure in riding is great when you're just doing pleasure. We need to get some goals!

Another easy keeper note. We don't have to blanket. Spyder has a GREAT coat, and he's out 24/7. He's happier outside with other horses because he's super social and loves to play. This is great, BUT I think the other horses just run and hide from him because he's always bossing them around. He's gotten better now... he's to the level of "my ears are back, go away" vs. "if you come near me, I will bite and kick you." He's one of the most clean horses on the farm which is surprising because even with others in a blanket, they manage more dirt. He will only go through mud when he is getting to his food or water. You can be leading him, and he will walk right around a puddle (and even manure). If he poops when you are riding, it's hilarious to try to steer him through it. Whenever he is laying, he's in the sandy, high and dry place in the paddock. I picked an easy one to groom.

Healthy
Next is grain, he's the least fed on the farm and holds weight the best. He's fat and happy on 1/2 scoop. He was eating 2 when he first came, and every 6 months it went down 1/2 scoop. He doesn't have a whole lot of grass, but the paddock is covered. It's more busy grass than anything. I do believe that his bossiness makes up for his lower grain intake. He's the first to grab the hay and the last to leave it. He makes sure that he gets his fill as he bosses them all around. This goes for the run in, too!

His feet? Perfect! He's not even ouchy on the driveway which is rocks, and the pavement doesn't seem to other him. Yes, he's out on sandy terrain/grassy paddock most of the time, but it's another perk to have him barefoot. While that's the way I like to go regardless, it seems other people aren't as lucky to have such great feet on their horses. Our biggest issue is his overreach. He's got such long legs, but a short body so he "clicks" all over the field. I make sure the farrier rounds out his toes in the back, but when he's getting close to being due, he's a mess walking and stepping on himself. Poor baby!
Not even sweaty after that ride.
We rode out to the big field yesterday with a few days off, and there were others riding around the arena on a trail which made Spyder excited. He was looky (with deer added to the mix), but he was good! We did some stop/go, and his reaction time is getting better. The stop and go are good, but we'll have to work on the back. I feel like every time we'd go to back, he'd be looking at deer or the other riders (or feeding ritual), and not pay attention at all. You can put all the pressure in the world on his mouth, and he'll back... eventually. We did a lot of pulling and fighting until he realized what I wanted, but then the backing got much easier.
Donkey ears
The canter was perfect in both directions with no fuss, and it's apparent that I've been working on it. Glad the cue is finally in order. We trotted over the wishing well (which looks a lot smaller with tall grass around it) and worked on a halt after the jump with some backing to work on our task from earlier in the ride. We'll get there, and it's great knowing we've come this far.