Saturday, May 21, 2011 was a very warm day, in the eighties, so it was time to give Buckshot a bath with shampoo! His almost-once-a-year bubble bath (don’t tell him it was a bubble bath!). But before that, we did a lot of variety. After grooming him, and finding some unusual bumps on one of his haunches, we went to the round pen to start our riding. We worked on circles and squares, and precision control. A large branch draped over one section of the round pen so we had to move around it. After several minutes working on these exercises, the BOH and helper approached with a big tractor. I turned Buckshot to look at the tractor so it wouldn’t surprise him. The BOH signaled that he wanted to take care of the branch so I dismounted and we walked over to the main arena.
We continued our phase one walking, doing cone bending with imaginary cones, and other patterns. After the warm up, we started trotting with vigor. Buckshot did great. Since we had the arena to ourselves, we tried many of our regular patterns. We did well at the canter also. Soon the BO joined us on her horse and we worked more in the arena, then headed into the woods to trail ride. As we approached the bridge, she pulled her horse over, and Buckshot and I led the way. Once on the other side of the bridge, we pulled off the trail, and let the BO take the lead. The woods were quiet and calm, marred only by a cat that accompanied us, who didn’t see anything wrong with stopping right in the middle of the trail, in front of a horse! We often had to detour around the fearless cat. What creature isn’t at least a little afraid of a creature that is seventeen times its size, made up of lots of tall, strong legs! LOL!
We arrived at the field arena and did work there. The BO worked on her reining maneuvers while Buckshot and I took advantage of the nice, big size and did trotting and cantering. We had a great time! Then we headed back up the road toward the main barn. As we approached the barn, one of the BO’s school horses, a lovely Palomino gelding, grazed calmly in front of the barn. Oh, I thought, someone is grazing Moonshine, I wonder who since there isn’t anyone else here. Oh, I thought with wide eyes, he doesn’t have a halter or lead rope on! Uh, oh, no one is grazing him! The BO was also watching him closely. We approached the barn calmly, and dismounted quietly. The BO took her horse into the barn, while I stayed near Moonshine, although I didn’t have anything to wrap around his neck. He didn’t even look up; he just kept eating grass. When the BO came out of the barn she had a halter and a handful of sweet feed and approached Moonshine softly. He nibbled from her hand as she slipped the halter over his head. Phew- no more loose horse! He is a horse with the talent of letting himself out of his stall, so a special locking mechanism is used on his stall door. However, that day he had been put into a different stall, so he was able to easily escape his boredom and find some grass to eat. LOL- what a character!
After untacking Buckshot it was time for his bubble, um, soapy bath. I used a dollop of horse shampoo in a bucket of water and rubbed him fairly well. I wasn’t really trying to remove all of his dirt, as he needs some for protection from insects. I wasn’t really up for sheath cleaning so I asked the BO if she would do it sometime this summer for me. She is more courageous about that than I am! I asked her about the bumps on Buckshot’s haunches and she examined them and said they may be rain rot. I put Eqyss spray on them. What do you use for rain rot?
On Sunday, we trailered four horses and riders to the reining barn for a reining clinic. Buckshot is getting much more used to this adventure. As I walked him from his pasture over to the barn, we walked behind the now-in-position-near-barn trailer, and Buckshot, who used to snort at this point, gave only a little half-snort. (I didn’t know horses could do partial snorts, but apparently they can!)
After grooming him, we weren’t quite ready to load so he and I walked out to the trailer area, and walked around. I gave him little exercises to do, which he readily did. He tried to walk me over to some areas he usually doesn’t go to. He also walked me right into the arena, so I used the arena to guide him in more exercises: little circles, bigger circles, spirals starting small, spirals starting big, backing, etc. He seemed eager to do these maneuvers, almost as a way to keep his mind busy while waiting. He wasn’t apprehensive or agitated, just a bit more energetic than normal, but definitely responding to me.
When it was time to load the horses, horse number one went on the trailer. Buckshot is horse number two. I walked him to the ramp. He stopped. I gave the lead line to the other rider, and she gently held it while he gave it a bit of thought. Then he took a step and then another and then walked calmly into the trailer. We loaded the other two horses, hopped in the truck and took off.
Buckshot came off of the trailer an hour later in good spirits. I walked him around a bit and then headed back to the trailer where the BO helped me tack up. I couldn’t get him to a tie up spot – there wasn’t enough room at one corner – so the BO helped me tack him up. He eagerly walked over to the mounting block, I got on and we started.
It was a good class, but not one of our best performances. We worked on several techniques – guiding, and small turns, as well as big circles followed by smaller circles. Our cantering was not the best. But one time, I led him around the entire arena at a trot and halfway through he started the most powerful, flying extended trot ever! My eyes were watering, we were going so fast! He didn’t ever break gait into the canter, but this trot was as powerful as any of his powerful canters! It felt heavenly to me!! I feel as if I could almost feel his positive emotion through it – his eagerness, or just feeling great as a horse, or something like that! It was magical!! What a wonderful, strong, responsive horse!! Good boy, Buckshot! So I can’t complain really about our cantering, since what he did well, he did very, very well!
After the clinic, I rinsed him off, gave him treats and praise, and we loaded the horses up. At our farm, he came off of the trailer calmly, and I walked him to his pasture. He looked at me, then went sniffing for a space to roll! I indulgently watched him, proud of him! Then I started getting the horses’ dinners ready. (And I sprayed him again with fly spray and Eqyss. Always the sprays and creams for him! LOL!)
I hope you had a good weekend also. And any suggestions on what has worked for you with rainrot? Thanks for listening!