I had a great weekend with Buckshot, helped along by very nice spring weather. On Saturday, it was sunny, breezy and slightly warm in the 70’s. As I groomed Buckshot in the main barn, someone was using a weed whacker nearby. I talked to Buckshot and told him it was nothing to worry about, but it got louder and louder as he came nearer and nearer. Buckshot became worried about it, and moved to the stall door, tense. It was really loud at that point, almost like it would come crashing into the barn. So I quickly hooked his lead line on and walked him out of the barn. We came to some grass nearby and he calmed down and started grazing. The weed whacker had stopped but the equipment was still on the ground so it appeared he would be back. I decided to tack up Buckshot right there in the grass. It cut short our grooming session, but I had done the critical winter-hair steps of using the curry comb and the shedding blade. We walked back into the silent barn, got the tack, and went back to the grass and tacked up there.
Buckshot was in great form on Saturday. After our warm up, he had great energy at the trot and canter. We rode down the middle of the arena, first on left lead canter, and then switched briefly to the trot, and then he picked up the right lead! Wonderful! I laughed and laughed, and told him how great he was! A little later, when the regular lesson students arrived, we did more walking and trotting and then we all headed up the road to the reining arena. Although Buckshot walked quite slowly, we got there and on the soft arena footing, he did great. Good trotting patterns where I tried to stretch them out to build stamina, good cantering in the big arena, and grazing at the nearby grass.
I applied the Endure fly spray to him this weekend, along with Equispot. The flies bite his sheath a lot so I put a little Swat on those areas. Later in the day, I checked the sheath area again, and saw that the Swat had melted and dripped down a bit. That is a good reminder to me to check after a treatment, to make sure it isn’t dripping or changing locations in a way I hadn’t anticipated. I think I will apply less Swat in the future, so that it won’t drip into his “private part.” That area can get quite dirty on its own, without my adding to it.
This was a weekend of my not thinking about what was causing Buckshot’s behavior. I feel badly that I missed a couple of obvious things. He had his hooves trimmed last Monday, so his slow walking on the road may very well have been due to his feet being a bit sensitive. I should have figured that out.
On Sunday, we went to the reining trainer’s farm for a clinic. After I tacked up Bucskshot, and we walked over to the mounting block, I noticed an unfamiliar woman with a long lense professional looking camera. She was taking pictures of the many horses in the arena. I said hi and asked if she was a professional photographer. She smiled and said yes. Wow! I thought, that is wonderful. Someone here has hired her to photograph them and their horse, which is something I secretly covet. I would love it if a professional photographer could follow Buckshot and I around and take pictures of our time together. I would love to have my special time with my special horse captured in pictures. I have never done it because it seems like it would be very expensive, and also, because equine photographers I have looked up on the internet seem to photograph competitions, and important horses and important events. I think they would laugh at my interest in shooting a pleasure horse on his home farm. So I have never pursued it.
But I was charmed that someone had brought this woman to the clinic. She was very nice, and offered to take a picture of Buckshot and I! I was delighted, and told her thank you several times, and offered to pay for her photos. She demurred, and took a few photos of us. I gave her my email address later, so hopefully I’ll be able to share them, and give her credit, on my blog soon. Isn’t that serendipitious, to run into a photographer at the little reining clinic I go to?
Buckshot was low energy during the clinic. He has had better days. I had to use leg aids a lot, and mostly he only trotted. I was dismayed. I decided I wanted spurs! LOL! Later, I realized that I had only warmed him up for five minutes, because the clinic started rather quickly after we arrived. Well, that explained it. He can’t do a lot without a good twenty minute warm up and I had deprived him of that necessity! So again, I have to stay aware of what is going on with him, and never ever shortchange him of his warmup. Still, it was a good day.
One of the other riders came over after the clinic and complimented Buckshot and said what a great trouper he is! Many people do appreciate him as an older horse. I want to savor that, and appreciate it as well. He has already given riders a lifetime of riding work, and he still rides his heart out for me! What a special horse! So whether it is my fault shortchanging his warm up, or a genuine low-energy day on his part, I want to be more generous of heart to him, and not be so demanding.
Do you have days like that, when you realize something important about your horse’s behavior, after the fact? I hope you don’t feel as guilty as I do……..