Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seneca's Christmas Gift

The best Christmas gift this year didn't come wrapped in pretty paper, or wrapped in shiny bows. It didn't even arrive on Christmas but rather the day before Christmas Eve.

I got off work early on Monday and the weather was rainy, but it was 70 something degrees outside.  So in between spouts of rain I went out and gave Seneca a little bit of a spa day.  I felt guilty for not paying enough attention to her lately, and her jungle woman mane was getting way out of control.  I didn't feel like dragging her all the way out to the horse trailer so I brought some grooming tools to her while she was munching her afternon hay.  Sometimes Seneca is cool with grooming and will stand still, but often she has something more important to do.

That day she stood patiently while I curried the two inches of mud off her brown coat, and combed out her mane.  Then I took out the scissors.  I know, I know grooming no no to use scissors but she wasn't going to be competing and she absolutely can't stand having her mane pulled.  I hacked off about five inches of wild pony mane and while I was doing it Seneca tilted her head around and nudged me gently, then began grooming me in her quiet, sweet way.

The High Queen is not the most affectionate horse on the planet. But every once in a long while she deigns to dole out a sliver of love so that I know she does indeed at least like me a little.  That day I almost felt tears trying to form.  She and I have had such a rocky affair(ie the two years we did the horse trailering battle) and some days I wonder what would have happened had I passed on her, said no, I don't think she's for me and walked away from her that day at the track.

But I didn't and good, bad or ugly she's my girl, and some days she claims me as her own.  In the spring I'm going to try some chiropractic/acupuncture/massage treatments for her to see if I can make her life a little more comfortable.  Who knows maybe we'll finally find out the why for the hind end lameness issues.

Until then Merry Christmas and keep it between the flags everyone.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Feeding the Fox

I've had Fox since early September and the whole time I've had him I've been trying to fatten him up.   When he was at the rescue they had him on a 16% protein feed.  Even then his ribs were showing a bit high up on his barrel and when I switched him to the feed that I give my other two he lost a bit of weight adjusting.  So operation fatten Fox kicked in to gear.

I adjusted his grain to a full scoop at each feeding, plus as much hay as I could stuff in to him.  In the past when I was trying to keep weight on the High Queen I fed her rice bran and beet pulp.  But doing studies I found that rice bran has a lot of Omega 6 fat which is the bad kind of fat.  And beet pulp while great has to be soaked, which is time consuming.

Anyone who has ever held down a full time job and kept their horses at home knows that time is precious.  So I decided to try a supplement on top of some alfalfa cubes.  The horses have been bundled in blankets for several weeks now due to the cold, the wet, you know actual winter. Which means that I haven't been able to see the fruits of the fattening up labor.  Today though while Fox was busy eating his dinner I half way divested him of his blanket and I have to say there is more fat and less ribs.  YEAH!

Fox still has a little ways to go but it looks like the efforts are working and come spring when training starts in ernest my OTTB with by round and ready to go!

Keep it between the flags everyone.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Step in the Right Direction

It's hard to think about winter riding plans when the weather outside is a downright muggy 77 degrees. Although tomorrow it will start to rain and turn cold again.  But as Scarlett O'Hara says "I'll think about that tomorrow."  Today while it's warm and flashing back to spring I want to think about what I'll be doing with Fox when it really is spring.

So during some down time at work, of which there was very little this week, I pulled up my calendar and started browsing all the usual places that list horse trials.  We aren't quite ready to be looking at the USEA Omnibus, so I directed my computer first to the Central Virginia Combined Training Association to see what might be on their 2014 calendar.  Early I know, but some farms/organizations are just as obsessed with the new eventing season as the rest of us.  Low and behold they did indeed have a few trials that are done bi annually and usually around the same time every year.  Calais Horse Trials is an unrecognized event that is put on twice a year by the Level Green Riding School.  This is where I am aiming Fox for his first HT.  They have a fairly low key Intro course with no water, banks or ditches, the show jumping and dressage are done on grass, and its got a huge field to park horse trailers in.  The added bonus? I've been to Calais three times previously with different horses. So I'll be calmer and more comfortable which will hopefully cause Fox to do his plow horse routine rather than raging psycho OTTB. Which is a side of him I haven't seen yet, but then again I haven't ever taken him off the farm by himself except the one time I was testing his loading.  He's always traveled with Cowboy, hopefully he will remain his calm lovely self.

I have a few other horse trials I want to take him to with the culmination event being the Cabin Branch Horse Trial in May.  I'd really like to do Maiden which is 2'3" but if we aren't that far along or Fox decides to be a cow about traveling alone we'll do the GAG division.  But that is where I want to end our spring season, then work all summer and maybe at the end of the fall season move up to actual Beginner Novice.

These are all just dreams right now, dreams and tentative goals. But it gives me something happy to think about, to plan for, to work towards. It keeps me sane when work drags on and on and on.  Because right now with the warm wind blowing, and the saddle beckoning me to ride when I know I won't be leaving work in time to do it. Thinking about what might be makes me just a little happier about being confined to my desk.

Keep it between the flags everyone.