Friday, July 23, 2010

Watch her go!!!

So I, being the diligent (over thinking really...) horse owner, cleaned out horsie's feet like I do daily (or mostly daily), and I came across this:

A piece of his sole just lifted right up, and I was told this was "Thrush", which seems sorta like athlete's foot for instructor had told me before that spraying apple cider vinegar on the hooves helps prevent it, so that's what I bought...I sprayed it on his back feet last night, and I'll do that every night from now on. He didn't seem to care, and it only takes a second.
I also started making him stretch- called Carrot Stretches- basically making him stretch to get a treat, which in turn helps keep him limber and flexible. Well, he didn't get it...still doesn't really get it. I want him to stand still and bend his neck to get his treat...he wants to walk in circles around me to get to his prize. So I ended up walking in circles with him for a little bit until he caught on. Day 2, same thing, he tried to walk around me to get to the treats, then realized I wanted him to stay put- he figured it out eventually. I'm hoping that in a couple days he'll catch on.
Also, I grew some HUGE carrots in my garden, so I cut one in half and let him chase me around the arena with it...

I'm glad no one was around, or at least I think no one was around, watching a heavyset lady run around a covered arena waving a giant carrot, with her heavyset horse trotting after her, waging a battle with himself between trotting for the yummy treat or being lazy and standing still.....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I haz a saddle!

The heat of the summer is officially here, and it needs to leave now. I've never done well in heat, and I can't see myself forcing my horse to work for me in the blistering heat, so we've been waiting until dark lately to do any groundwork.

And the other day, I let him see his old friend, Mr. Hose. Altivo didn't seem to care about the hose or the water spraying him- didn't seem to really like it, but he also didn't fuss about it. Then he turned his head toward me, and I aimed the hose at his mouth.

He's a mouthy horse to begin with, and letting him chew at the water stream coming out of the hose was heaven for him!! He followed the hose when I moved it, licking at the water and opening his mouth really wide....silly horsie!!

Oh, and the mail came!!! Lookie-

It's the Abetta draft saddle I talked about last blog- it's way comfy, and I put it on him without a cinch just to snap a picture. I'll put my cinch on it and snap a picture of it actually ON him....I put it on him last night and tightened it on- I made sure to go slowly and bit by bit like my teacher said, since yanking it tight the first time can make a horse sensitive to the cinching up process, and I want to make saddling up as happy as it could be with me. I bought a back cinch to help keep the saddle on him, since he's round like a barrel, and it didn't come with a back cinch connector strap. That's one of these:

It connects the front cinch with the back cinch so the back one doesn't slip back and work it's way into the horse's no no spot. That can cause them to become annoyed and think that bucking you off is a great idea.

Oh, and I went with the ESP saddle pad by Classic Equine- I got a great deal on eBay, and it's black and cream, which is nice and understated....though I totally wanna get one of these to go over it!!

The next thing is to find a pulling breast collar that fits him- but I was hoping to find a fleece lined leather one in black....but it seems that in the draft horse world you can't be too picky....I haven't managed to find what I'm looking for yet.

I can't wait for my next lesson- I actually have everything I need to tack him up and have him ready to ride when my teacher arrives! Whoo!!

And on the training note- kissing and tapping his leg now has a 50% chance of him lifting his foot for me....what a change from the day I got him- when the girl showing him told HorseFriend- "if you can lift his foot up I'll buy you a soda, he just won't do it"....HA!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Updates again...

Well, I had my lesson on Thursday- I managed to mount fairly gracefully, I think. Altivo accepted the bridle and bit pretty easily, and we walked around the arena for a while, circling barrels, traffic cones, and any other obstacles in our path.
My instructor then put me on the lunge line, to work on my trot, and Altivo kind of gave a little head toss, so to be safe, she had me dismount so we could see if there was an issue there. It seems like his left stifle is bugging him, and the term "patella fixation" came up. Since he hasn't been exercised regularly in eons, there's a chance that his locking knee is from basic un-fitness.
I've hired my teacher's daughter to ride him twice a week to work on him, since my saddle still isn't in yet, and he needs a more experienced hand to trot and lope him. My job, however, is to walk him and free lunge him in the meantime, and we are going to evaluate him in about a month or so. I hope his leg gets better, I don't want him to see being ridden as a horrible scary thing that locks his knees up.

I finally ordered my saddle!!! Because I'm still learning, and eventually want to get a supercool endurance saddle (maybe even treeless?!?), I decided to go with a beginner, easily kept up saddle- the Abetta. They only make two styles in the draft tree, both with horns, but they're comfortable, inexpensive, and simple looking.
I am still shopping for the right saddle pad, but he doesn't have any weird back issues- no swayback, no extra long or extra short back, no high withers, and nothing seems to bother him, so I am debating between the Reinsman Tacky Too, the Team Equine Durango, and the Classic Equine ESP pad.

All have good reviews, all are around the same price, but I've heard the Tacky Too pads can get slick if your horse sweats alot- he does at the moment since he's out of shape! And I've heard the ESP's can break down, and the Team Equine's website isn't that user friendly.

And I want a good pad that'll hold up to use, but I also want it to be pretty!!! I'm such a vapid consumer, but seriously, looks are a minor concern too.

I've been working on having him stand near the mounting block some more, and he's gotten really good at standing quietly, even if I step up to the top step. He used to side step or bounce around slightly when I got that far- it's so awesome to see progress!!

I also think the hoof glitter helps too. :)