Monday, September 12, 2011

Late Summer Rides and A New Bit

Tonight I have been searching for a new bit for Buckshot. He uses a snaffle bit, specifically a French link eggbutt snaffle bit. This past weekend I examined it, as I do periodically to make sure it can’t pinch his mouth, and I noticed one butt was pulling away from the sleeve and could pinch. I showed it to the barn owner and asked her if she thought it could pinch and she agreed. So I have been pouring over my catalogs and tack websites, and guess what- after carefully scrutinizing several bits, it seems that he doesn’t wear a French link at all! His bit has a tiny amount of copper on the middle bar and after searching exhaustively, this bit is called a copper ¼ moon eggbutt snaffle. All this time I thought he used a French link, but there are so many different names for bits, who knew?

When I first bought Buckshot, his tack didn’t come with him, so I went searching for a bit that looked identical to the one he used. I found one, in a consignment tack shop. I felt guilty about buying him a used bit, so I called his prior owner and asked if it was okay to buy a horse a used bit. He said it was, if the bit was in good condition. So, poor guy, he has been using a secondhand bit all this time. Who knows how old the bit is by now! He has done fine with this style of bit so I don’t want to change it on him. But I’ll get him a brand new one. Fortunately, this bit is one of the least expensive ones, even in Korsteel, so I just have to figure out which website offers the best shipping charges, and keep myself from buying other things as well.

We had a great weekend – no hurricanes, earthquakes, or one hundred degree temperatures in sight! Wonderful! On Saturday when I arrived at Buckshot’s pasture, he was back in the far corner of the pasture, in a very shady section overlooking an adjacent farm’s pond. He was calm and happy as I approached. I think of this corner as the "den" of his pasture. Both he and Lucky seem to be very contented and quiet when they stand there. It’s funny, but I think of other sections of his pasture as “rooms” also. The paddock area and their barn stalls are the main living and eating areas. Then there is the persimmon tree area, which is adjacent to a pasture with twelve horses in it. I have seen Buckshot and Lucky grazing and hanging out at the fenceline near these horses. Maybe it is their back porch, where they chat with their neighbors. Lol!

After walking Buckshot over to the main barn to groom him and tack him up, we headed for the arena. The BO had let us know in advance that the woods were absolutely filled with swarms of mosquitoes so it was best to stay away. Buckshot was pretty low energy, but then, all the horses were. Since it was very humid, I didn’t blame the horses. After we tacked up, we didn’t have anyplace to go ride. The earlier class was still in the arena (since they couldn’t go on the trail). The round pen has a lot of damage from the hurricane so it can’t be used. We couldn’t walk on the trail. So I started walking Buckshot, in hand, down the farm road. He got about a quarter of the way down and didn’t want to go further, so we turned around, went back to the grassy area outside of the arena and walked around, doing little circles, backing, leg yields, etc.

When we finally got in the arena, he did okay. His trotting was not very enthusiastic, but was okay. Sometimes, he would trot very energetically, but only down one rail. He didn’t want to keep going at that level of energy. A few times when we stopped in the center of the arena for a breather, he walked us over to a shady section! That is a first for Buckshot! He must have wanted the little bit of coolness we got from the shade. Later, when our instructor gave the class an interesting pattern to do that involved trotting and cantering, he did very well, even changing leads (simple lead changes) for the pattern. We didn’t ride very long but it was, all things considered, a nice time. Then I gave him his treats, his every-other-week medicated shampoo bath and took him back to his pasture.

On Sunday it was hot and humid again. Even I didn’t feel like moving very fast. After Buckshot was tacked up, we headed into the arena. Again, he was okay, but not very energetic. I had decided to keep the work level low since the weather was so very hot and humid. We did a little bit of trotting, and just two canters, which were very nice. I rubbed his neck and praised him happily for his lovely canters. No one else was riding. The trail didn’t seem like a good idea. So I thought I’d try to ride Buckshot down the road. We got a good halfway down before he balked. I immediately thought that this was progress, so I thanked him, and turned him around. Then, not leaving well enough alone, I thought maybe we could ride just a small ways on the trail. But when I tried to get Buckshot to head to the trailhead, he balked. (He must have been able to read my mind! She's going to take us into the trail, even though the BO said there's mosquitoes in there! How dare she?) So I didn’t push it. Instead I just turned us toward the barn, and told him I’d dismount (his favorite words!) and he stopped perfectly to let me get off! LOL! I told him he did very good work, and gave him his treats and took him to untack and then get rinsed off. Even though we didn’t ride very long, only about forty-five minutes, all things considered, it was a nice ride.

I hope you had a nice weekend. Won’t the fall be nice after the hot, humid summer? I can’t wait!

1 comment:

Grey Horse Matters said...

I can't wait for the fall weather and neither can the horses. This humidity and the flies/mosquitoes are killing us. Sounds like you had some nice rides and that Buckshot told you when he didn't feel like it. Gotta love them for that. Blue is the same way. Hope he likes his new bit.