Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More time with the boy!

Well, they say every cloud has a silver lining. With James' mum having broken her back we are spending much more time at her place, and with my horse. Twice a day we feed pigs and horses and goat and chickens and dog and cats and steers and (less frequently) the fish. It means no sleep ins, sad as I'm often working nights, but I see my Harry boy every day. We've been doing some work on knowing exactly who's boss and me being able to drive him away from his food. Or rather, me not getting bowled over by him getting to his food. I find, oddly enough, that he's calmed down at feeding time with this practice. He had been pawing the ground and stamping his feet and generally unable to stand still. Now with me being the boss and allowing him to eat when I said so, the pressure's off and he can eat without worrying.
I find it odd, but I guess it makes sense to him. I'm still having trouble getting weight on him. He gets all the baleage he can eat plus twice a day feeds of alfalfa chaff, soaked beet, horse nuts, boiled barley and a cup and a half of canola oil. With that and the new spring grass I swear he should be the size of a house, but no. My next bet is to get a supplement which replaces bacteria in the gut, enabling him to get more out of the food he's eating. Worm count is zero and his teeth have been done by a qualified equine dentist so I'm at a loss if that doesn't work. As an Off Track Thoroughbred I know his early years weren't the best for his digestion, and I know his previous owner had trouble keeping weight on him too but I feel inadequate some how, that I'm not taking good enough care of my horse.
At anyrate, the weight will sort itself out eventually, and in other respects we're comming along nicely (I think) we had an excursion yesterday out to Riding for the Disabled. He was calm and quiet, with only a few moments of snorting and giraffe imitations (donkeys and an unexpeced peice of machinery on the side of the road) and we got to the arena safely. Here he was faced with a bunch of unfamiliar horses, two of whom were on heat, and being tied up on his own while I had lunch. He was remarkably calm about it all. I did some body work on him, practicing my advanced body balance before my level three course next month, and he just about fell asleep, then followed me around the arena looking for more. I sat on the mounting block and he walked up and had cuddles with me for a good half an hour. Half asleep with his head in my lap and occasionally whuffing at my face to request more ear scratches.
Such a sweet heart.
I did discover though that he will not eat oranges or parsnips.
Walking home was much the same and we did alot of trotting up small hills to get his shoulders working. I have a few poles (read small pine tree trunks) at Ainslie's now, so I have him trot over them a few times a day and lunge him up and down the only real slope we have. He thinks I'm mad, but the muscle is beginning to build up correctly in his shoulders and his back end doesn't feel so much like jelly ( mine is another story, sadly).
I feel that things are starting to come together and so long as it is consistanly clear that I'm in charge, we will be fine. Any moments of doubt on my part he picks up instantly. Damn horses and their fantastic body language skills!

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