Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Back to Work

O's leg has mostly returned to normal, finally. She and the others spent Monday in the barn due to a torrential all-day downpour, and because of this I decided to wrap her fronts to keep the leg from filling back up again. A few hours later, S texted me to report that O was destroying her bandages. Really mare... sigh. Although I guess I'm not surprised, she doesn't ever really wear wraps and she doesn't ever go in a stall unless the weather is terrible. I've seen her grab her blanket with her teeth and pull on it hard whenever she decides she wants it off, so it's not surprising that she'd do the same for wraps. She is a special strawberry, that's for sure. In pulling her wraps, she ripped the wounds open again, *of course*. Despite that, the leg looked halfway normal Tuesday morning, and I decided to trailer her to the small covered arena down the road and lunge her. Everything is a swamp back at the home barn and there's nothing to be done about it. After two whole weeks off, I was not keen to put her between the shafts without having lunged her first. I like living, thanks very much.

She was hot and looky and trembling all over with nervous excitement when I unloaded her, and I parked her in front of her haybag. I never work my horses on an empty stomach - they always are allowed to tank up on hay before we work, as an ulcer preventative. She drives me nuts when we go places and she gets like that though, because she won't eat her hay and instead has to stare at EVERYTHING with huge enormous eyes and big blows. Not much to be done about it either except just try to help her relax, and put the haybag in front of her. She's been to this barn before, plenty of times, but she has been off for two weeks. I didn't really expect any different though, to be honest. I made sure I let her stuff her face with hay for an hour before we left (she also refuses to eat while on the trailer), and dosed her Pro CMC before I went to work her since she was not even considering her bag of hay. Normally when we go places and she has been in steady work, she is looky and curious and then will settle in and eat for awhile before we go to work. I haven't been trailering her many places as of late, and she's been off work, so I was prepared for some goofy, erratic behavior.
I know everybody thinks I am nuts for being so neurotic about ulcer protection but it pays off to be that way, especially with this horse. Even with ALL I do for her in terms of protection - and it's a LOT of stuff - I still worry about it. And if I wasn't so neurotic about it, she'd be burned from mouth to butthole with gastric problems, I can guarantee it. I don't know how people with similarly neurotic beasts can ever get away with less preventative care. I suppose a lot of them *don't* get away with it - every which way I turn, there's another classic ulcer case in just about every barn I go to. Ulcers are debilitating and painful... if only people paid as much attention to the soundness of their horses' guts as they do the soundness of their legs. I guess you only know what you know, until you learn.

Anyway. I digress.

I am a good beast
The covered arena is only really about lunging size, so there's not a ton of space in there. But it's all good dry footing, so it works great for situations like this when the bigger arenas are flooded out. I started off lunging her in the Fauxssoa to get the willies out, and then stuck my driving lines on her. She did not so much have the zooming willies as she did the veering snorties - everything was scary looking, and she couldn't stop staring at everything going on outside of the arena. This passed within relative short order, and while she was still spooky she at least was paying attention. Once the driving lines were on, she was wonderful, and we did lots of transitions, bending, and changes of direction. The long lining is infinitely helpful with the work we do when hitched - it's all the same stuff, I'm just on the ground. Our dressage tests at Training level are very simple: halts, a reinback, 40 meter circles at the trot, and some working walk and free walk. We worked on all of these things, specifically quiet transitions, and she was great. The leg went down all the way to regular size while she was working, and has stayed down. Hooray!

Today I was VERY happy that I had opted to lunge her yesterday. It was foggy and warm this morning, and BOTH mares had the zooms for a little while. P is 307 days pregnant and still got her bucks on this morning! (Not for very long... a few passes back and forth was quite enough for her!)

Run Monster Dog run!
We got her the ball to entertain herself.... aaaaand she hasn't touched it once
Gravity is not kind

After they settled and munched hay for awhile, I pulled O out and hooked her. She was not surprisingly quite hot and jittery still... SO glad I lunged her AND that she got her bucks out in the morning. The neighbors were shooting, and in the foggy still morning every noise was super loud. She normally doesn't care about the noise, but this morning she got the jerking shudders every time a gun went off. A truck went by with a muddy, rattling water tank attached to a trailer, and she almost had a heartattack. The neighbor with the donkeys was moving haybales around with his tractor, and I thought she was going to fall over and die when she saw that sight. Mares...

Despite that, she was actually a pretty good girl. When she gets super hot, she bubbles over with energy and has a very hard time stopping and standing still. When she is quiet, she'll stand immobile for hours if you want her to, but when she is not, she'll halt promptly but then burst forward again of her own accord. She'll do it over, and over, and over again, and if she gets frustrated enough she'll turn her head around and bite the shafts or harness (with her ears pricked forward, never in a grumpy way... weird mare). But, if you're just patient, and insist that no, we really *do* have to stand... then she'll stand. Over the course of the drive, she melted into a much more amicable beast, and was doing some great walk-trot-walk transitions, stretching, halting, backing up, walking off, and halting again (which is the sequence we have to do in our Training 2 test). She walked home on a long floppy rein, quite a lot more relaxed than when we went out.

Feels good to be back in the box seat, that's for sure!


  1. Sometimes they just need to get their zoomies out!

  2. Glad to hear you're back to driving again!

    And I love that photo of P-mare!

  3. lol looks like they had a blast running around lol! i really worry about ulcers w my mare too - and noticed that she barely ate any hay at all during our drives to and from a clinic (an hour each way)... she usually empties her net when she's got a traveling partner so idk... but i'm glad i had the foresight to dose her with some ulcergard before the trip!

  4. I love those pictures! My dog refuses to get caught out in the pasture with Chrome after being trampled a few times lol. I'm glad she didn't get monster dog!

    I don't think you're being neurotic about the ulcers but I'm a very neurotic person so maybe I shouldn't even have an opinion lol. You're doing a great job with her!