Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Big Ride and greedy, greedy Harry!

On Sunday Tony very kindly drove me out to pick up a trailer load of hay, drove me and the trailer back to the paddock and helped me stack, cover and tie down 50 bales of hay. We then went and shot some bunnies for his cat, Dave, who adores them and I got to play with the .22 and the shotgun. Wicked.
On Monday I went out to the paddock only to find that my dear Harry had managed to find a spot to get under the tarp and had eaten roughly half a bale of hay. I fixed that gap, removed the half a bale to the small shed we use for convenient hay access and picked up twice as much poo as usual.
On Tuesday I went out to the paddock and found Harry had moved some of the pallets I had leaned against one side of the stack and had demolished another half a bale of hay. I used the remains to stuff a hay net and tied the pallets to each other, the stack and the tarp.
Today I went to the paddock and found Harry had managed to pull one of the covering tarps halfway off and had demo'd another bale of hay, somehow managed to knock some of the top bales off the stack, and re arranged the pallets. I used all the twine from the recently demo'd bales to tie the tarps, pallets, and hay bales to each other and crossed my fingers that it's all over now, right? After all, I may never be able to get in there again myself! Fortunately, in his cheerful consumption of my winter hay supply, Harry has made the stack just small enough that the tarps cover it much more easily.
He has still been begging me for more dinner through all of this.

At any rate, I figured with the quantities of food he has eaten lately he really needed some exercise, so I tacked up and off we went. Harry has decided that the best warm up is to walk up the grass verge on the side of our road until he can cross over and say hi to the mare in the paddock at the end. Going along with this is a much easier way to get him loosened up and moving forward than having a fight with him over going the other direction. He has this whole passive aggressive thing going on where he doesn't really DO anything... but he makes it a lot of hard work and likes to drift closer to the trees and swipe me with branches. Brat.
So I lined him up next to the bank, stepped up, swung my leg over... and as I settled in the saddle we were facing a hundred eighty degrees the other way and moving off at a sedate but purposeful walk. Oh dear. I may have to work on this.

We went to the end of the road, said hi to the mare and came back again, then across the main road, around the corner and down towards the equestrian center. Harry is feeling so much better on his bare feet that he insisted on walking on the tarmac today, rather than on the grass. This is fantastic, except when there is traffic on the road as well. Harry is of the opinion that the traffic will get out of his way and shows no concern for cars, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, tractors, motor homes, 12 tonne diggers, etc. The only thing of any concern to him were the bags of sheep poo being sold as fertilizer as a fundraiser for the rowing club. We had to stop and stare at those for some time before moving off.

Approaching the Equestrian Center we caught sight of a bay horse cantering around a jump course. Harry was enthused and wanted to meet this new friend and it took some urging on my part for him to continue past this horse to the gate. I managed to open the gate from horseback (whoop whoop!) but was concerned it wasn't open quite far enough, being jammed on a pile of fallen leaves, so I jumped off and led Harry through, closed the gate and remounted (from the ground, with no helpful slope! Go me!!) At this point we set off at an even more purposeful walk back towards where he had seen the other horse. I let him explore the grounds for a while (the other horse had moved on, Harry was most disappointed) and he trotted over poles and and up to a makeshift dressage arena. This had poles marking the edges and markers around the edges. He appeared to recognize it because he wandered around to 'A' and trotted the most perfectly straight center line I have ever had from him. I sat still with my hand on the buckle and my mouth gaping open in surprise.

After that he appeared to loose interest in dressage and went to explore the drainage ditch. We marched right up to it... and popped over. He must have enjoyed that because we came back to the same place no less than three times and did the same. After which I decided it was time for some real work and we did some huge trot circles, working on having him move off my leg and lower his head without sticking his nose out, and a little bit of canter. More for fun on that one, it makes us both happy :)

From there we headed over to the gate again, I unlatched it from the saddle and gave it a push. Harry thought it hadn't gone far enough and proceeded to give it a few shoves with his nose before walking through. Clever boy :) I did have to do some convincing on getting close enough to close the gate again from the other side though.

A cruisey walk home again with some small trot and canter moments. We are getting good now at spotting places that might be good for some speed. If I feel his energy come up I can either leave my reins on his neck, in which case he remains walking, or pick them up and cluck and he moves off at a trot or canter quite relaxed and happily. Why are our transitions never this good in an arena??

Un tacking him at home again I realized he hadn't even broken a sweat! Wait, when did my horse get fit without me?? He's in a winter coat and I'm in a t-shirt! I'm confused...

All in all, a very good day and I have my fingers crossed that my hay will still be safe tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Indian Summer

Wonderful weather the last few days. Had the best ride yet with Harry on Monday. Up the gravel road by his paddock and then down to the equestrian center where we met up with some friends and cruised around the race track a few times. I've never had him on a racetrack before and wondered if his racing past might come back to him but no, we cruised happily around calmly even when the pony with us was throwing tantrums and chucking his rider. Oh dear...
We had our first canter as well and for the first few strides it was lovely and flowing and up hill and OMG Harry where have you been hiding that??? And then I think I interfered. Damn my riding... and we went back to down hill cantering into the ground. At any rate, I know he has it in him and it's my job to sit back and stop getting in the way! I was thrilled anyway, and Harry was glad to have company and to go forward a bit more. Think he is getting sick of endless walking but I feel mean if I ask him to do more on his still sensitive bare feet. They are getting better though, and he's now just slow on tarmac, not head bobbing lame as he was right after getting his shoes off. The quality of the horn and the concavity of the soles is much improved also. Looking forward to seeing what the trimmer has to say when he comes back :)

Yesterday I met up with a few locals at 9am and drove down nearly to Beaumont. The tops came off a few beers before we even got there, and that trend continued most of the day as we kayaked down the Clutha to Clydevale. We arrived home just after 6pm. A fantastic day in amazing scenery with excellent company. Couldn't ask for better. Check out Clutha River Cruises- the company in charge of the kayaks. I think the guided tours don't involve quite so much alcohol though... We had the advantage of taking a local vinyard owner with us- he provided several bottles of wine so every now and again we'd line up all the kayaks and refill our glasses as we floated past blazing yellow poplars and deep green native beech forest. Brilliant.

Today I am feeling rather the worse for wear, but the weather is fantastic and I want to get out and about with Harry again :) Also, I have banana cake to make.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A successful day!

Worked this morning and discovered that the book I've been eyeing up was actually mine. No, really. Several weeks ago a customer had been reading it while eating his lunch and we'd had a brief conversation, during which I mentioned that I hadn't yet read it, but would like to.
Yesterday that customer came back, said he'd thoroughly enjoyed it and hoped I would too. I am now the proud owner of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Came home, got changed, made a few phone calls and now have my name on 50 bales of meadow hay. Finally! It's like hens teeth this year! Went out to feed Harry before the weather got any worse (12 degrees and blowing a gale) He was very pleased to see me. Or the bucket... yeah, probably the bucket. No riding today, but I did give him a quick groom- he's beginning to really fluff up for the winter and his feet are looking SO good!
Met Gila at the paddock and had a bit of a chat. Her boss is looking for another barrista for a few hours a week, possibly full time later on. Gila's talking to her tomorrow. Hopefully I have another job sorted out! Whoop! If not that one, Brownie wants someone to come deal with SAP at his work for a few hours a week. I haven't had much experience with it, but I'm sure I could learn pretty quick. Looking pretty damn good on the job front anyway!
Had a few drinks with Wendy and Anne and came home to find confirmation that I was indeed owed a tax return. Should be seeing nearly $700 in the next few days. Hoorah!

You know, despite the nasty cold weather... it doesn't get much better than this.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sunny Wednesday Morning

Turned into blustery Wednesday afternoon when I went to see Harry. I'm sure the weather does this to me deliberately, it's just thinking, "let her chill out in the sun, and do the laundry and hang it out... and when she leaves the house to do something fun... Turn up the wind chill factor and threaten to rain. *insert evil laughter* "
Despite the weather misbehaving Harry and I had a nice ride. His feet are still tender on the gravel and the road, so we're looking for longer grass stretches without low hanging trees. Had a trot on the way home for the first time since I've had him back :) Feels good to be making a bit of progress!
We got back to the paddock and did a few carrot stretches- minus the carrot. It's a little more complicated to make him do it this way, but we got there eventually. Then we just chilled out and had cuddles. I love that he's such a snuggle bunny. I can bury my face in his neck and stroke his forehead and we both just stand there totally relaxed and breathing each other in...
This is why I own a horse...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's Tuesday, Again.

So once again I headed out at a reasonable hour (10.30am) to do reasonable things (feed my horse, poo pick the paddock, do a bunch of ET sessions in Cromwell) and once again I am home unreasonably late. Though, at least it is still today. Wound up drinking cider and taking a random road trip to Wanaka for dinner. Got roped into a quiz night (the dude had the most amazingly freakish hair. We thought he'd have personality to match!) but were bored rigid and buggered off home again. Hence it is 10pm and I am home again.
Is this an improvement over last week? I'm not sure.
In the mean time, Harry continues to gain weight (as do I! Damn having a drivers license! All that cycling was good for me!) and is looking much improved now he has had his feet done also. The trimmer commented his front feet were in good shape, especially for a thoroughbred. Personally I think his hind feet are better, particularly his white foot, the heel has de-contracted considerably, the frog is tough and of all four feet it has the most concavity. The two front feet are still quite flat, though the soles are beginning to shed. If the weather is nice tomorrow I will take him for a ride and see if we can't hurry it along. Wish I had a camera and could take photos of his progress!
Adore having him back with me again, though I'm still freaking out a bit about how I'm going to keep him fed now my hours are being cut back. Thankfully I am making headway in my case studies and should be qualified soon! Huzzah for some extra cash! Not to mention a job I love :)
Soooo Life is good, but would be better with ooooh.... maybe an extra $10,000? Stuff it, if I'm dreaming I want to win the $29million lotto's up to this week.