Sunday, December 21, 2008

weather problems

The weather has been horrible here with ice, rain and more ice. The pasture board horses have been stuck in the big shed, refusing to leave and go out. When I went to change Drifter's blanket I noticed that she had significant swelling in both hind legs, especially the left hind. She was swelled up to her hocks. The swelling was warm with pitting edema. Massage helped. So did hand walking.

I figure that she is retaining some water from the pregnancy, she is not walking, she may have a mild case of scratches.

So again today I doctored her legs, hand-walked and lunged her some, attempted to dry her pasterns thoroughly. She is pleasant about the whole thing, allowing me to massage her swollen legs, clean her pasterns and apply more goop to them. I am hoping the weather improves so that everyone moves away from the shed and starts walking some more. Let's hope for better weather.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Great day

It's been raining and flooding here! The pastures are super wet and when I went to get Drifter, she took one look at me and headed the other way. After walking across the wet, muddy, boot stealing field I went up to her and slipped on the halter, She was a good girl and followed me back in.

I took her right to the wash stall to hose off her muddy legs, feet and blanket. Luckily I remembered to bring along a clean and dry blanket for her last week. She was a good girl and stood to be hosed off. She almost seemed to be happy to be getting cleaned up. I worry about all the mud making her feet soft and her getting another stone bruise.

I gave her a really good grooming to removed the wet spots. I only groomed her above the knees, because she was wet from her mini-bath. She was good for tacking up and is starting to lower her head for bridling.

I rode with two other horses in the ring today. It was super windy and it felt like the roof would be blown off the indoor. Drifter was forward, light and happy. It was a great ride. She was back to her November attitude without reluctance to go forward. This could be because:
- the foal was sleeping and not kicking ehr
- it wasn't feeding time
- she wasn't wearing a quarter sheet (maybe the static shocks her)
- it was windy, maybe this is her "up" mood

We worked on lateral work (leg yield) at walk and trot and walk/trot transitions. She was very willing and listening to my leg aids. I kept noticing how she was trying to cut into the left and bending a bit to the right. Then I noticed that my right leg was internally rotated and my knee was pinching into her. When I consciously changed my leg position to be even, she went straight. I was accidentally bending her and moving her off my right leg. She is so finely tuned into me that I notice these little things. When I rode my gelding, Fritz, after riding her I kept my right leg externally rotated and he also went much better. He maintained his roundness and didn't lose his balance at the canter. This mare teaches me so much.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More momy then ever

Yesterday our ride was average for December. She continue to be less forward and thrilled with work, but overall still willing and responsive. We are only working at walk and trot now, but I am hoping to be able to maintain her fitness throughout the rest of her pregnancy. I am not so sure that she agrees with me.

After our short ride, I stopped a moment before throwing her blanket back on her and noticed the activity going on inside. I placed my hands on her- one on her flank and one on her midline. I sweat that foal was tap dancing on her insides- no wonder she doesn't want to trot around!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dressage ring

Today we worked in the dressage ring for the first time. The dressage ring has no real fence and is closer to the road/driveway and other distractions.

First, I addressed Drifter standing at the mounting block, which she has not been fond of lately. We did a lot of walk and some trot for our session today. I focused on correct bending and ended with some leg-yielding and an attempt to introduce shoulder-fore. I needed to remind her to remain rhythmical and not speed up facing the barn. We practiced circles that were round with good bend in both directions. She was mostly compliant, but seemed a little foot sore. We just had our first good freeze here and the pastures are pitted with muddy frozen horse hoof holes now. Overall, she was very good in a new work environment.

Drifter is approximately 204 days in foal. She is due April 10-24, since we don't know her true breeding date. The foal is the size of a beagle and growing into a goat sized fetus with fuzzy whiskers. The pregnancy is taking more out of her and she appears hungry all the time. We have stopped all cantering and are focusing on quality trot and walk work. Drifter is very friendly right now and has even been coming up to the fence for me when I call her.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wondering about tomorrow

Our Tuesday ride was less then impressive. When I went to get Drifter out of the field she looked very tired. She was fine for grooming and tacking. Our whole ride was at the walk working on halting. She was forward on the forehand and ignoring my aids to halt.

It could have been any number of factors:
1. she was tired and cranky
2. she was uncomfortable
3. the bit was not adjusted properly
4. my pants smelled like smoke and she was "getting away" from them
5. unknown, unrelated factors
6. it was feeding time and she is/was starving

Her appetite has increased a lot lately. Otherwise she was good and maybe she would have been better if I did some trotting and asked her to move out and then went back to halting- who knows. She appears to enjoy lateral work. I hope tomorrow is a better day, better ride.