Sunday, April 1, 2012

Today Is A Blue Day. No - Orange. Red!

Title inspired by Robin Williams.

The crazy weather is showing no signs of stopping. We've gone from hot and humid to windy and rainy. Royal keeps shedding, albeit at a reduced pace. We haven't had much time to do anything major lately in what has almost been a comedy of errors. Last Saturday, I went out with the intention of doing some finesse, but one of the barn owner's horses was sick, and she wanted my advice. I suppose my experience makes me a pseudo-expert and I was eager to lend a hand. The poor guy had a weird range of symptoms (sweating on his side and flanks, a fever which turned into a temperature worryingly below normal, and just not feeling well), but it didn't seem like anything serious. However, by the time we had taken his vitals and consulted with the vet, I had to leave to get ready for work. Royal was most good and patiently waited while we fussed over the other horse, with one mini-fit. Sunday, just as I was ready to go out to the farm, my grandmother came over and stayed for an hour and a half. Which meant I had very little time to do anything at the farm. I decided to try playing with him on the 45 foot like out in the back paddock. Now, Royal has two modes on the 45: good and responsive or berserk.

 Guess which one he was on Sunday.

 It started out well enough. The trot circles were lovely, but as soon as I asked him to canter, he took off. Right into a deep patch of mud. He lost his footing and his hind legs went flying out to the right. He basically sat down like a dog before popping back up. He seemed no worse for wear, so I did lots of calming exercises with him at the trot (going up and down mounds and sideways to a tree). He had a bit of heat in his hinds so I have him some bute and a massage and made sure his legs were cool before putting him back in the pasture. He was a bit subdued, though. I think he tired himself out.

 Tuesday, I set up a small grid in the indoor; basically a ground pole 9' from a small jump and 9' to a another ground rail. We just did that as a free jumping exercise, which went pretty well. He was a little confused about how to negotiate the ground poles, but the point was to let him figure it out. Didn't have to be pretty or perfect. But I noticed he had this funny scab on his face, near his eye. He seems to get something like this every year. I think he gets so itchy from shedding that he rubs his face raw. But I noticed another scab on his jowl, which was much bigger. I picked off the scabs, put some neosporin on the wounds, and hoped for the best. Totally forgot to get a picture of it though.

Friday, I tried (again) to help him get over his fear of the Blue Blanket of Death and once again felt unsuccessful. It's very frustrating because just as we get to the mythical "good note"  to quit on, something happens and everything goes wrong. He gets really scared of the blanket all over again, and I get really annoyed. So, I'm still at a loss for how to proceed with this. And, to make matters worse, his face wounds were all red and inflamed looking. I tried to put more neosporin on them, but they were so ugly looking. And I STILL forgot to get pictures! Argh! Epic fail day.

Today was better (I had to work all day yesterday). I want to do some jumping, both as a stress releaser and to test the grid from Tuesday. At first it looked like that may not happen, since he was TENSE. All the horses on the property were talking, for no discernable reason, and the arena was creaking. It took quite a bit of ground prep before I felt he was safe to ride, and a lot of stretching undersaddle before he was safe to jump. Once he was, it was awesome. It was still a tiny little jump, so I was able to focus on my position. I've heard pretending you're trying to show someone watching from a distance the bottom of your boots, and it seemed to work, judging from the lack of noise being made from my saddle and boots. It worked at both the trot and canter, although the canter had a few take-off bobbles. Again, the jump was tiny, so we were okay. I felt good to quit when we had two perfect jumps at the canter.

And the best part? His face looked better! The inflammation was mostly gone and it looks like they'll heal well.

Yeah, yeah, laugh at the weird scissor work. I didn't want any hair in the wound, so I had to take precautions. And it appears to have worked. So, I think we'll be okay.

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