Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Heat Continues

Oh, how I wish for some cooler weather! Is it autumn yet? Despite the incessant heat, Buckshot and I had a good time last weekend. On Saturday, the skies were filled with threatening clouds, and thunderstorms were possible. I went to Buckshot’s pasture to get him, and as we started walking, it started to rain. So I took him back to his pasture. I stood there for a few minutes and the sprinkling stopped. So I put his halter back on him and took him out again. We started walking and then, it started raining again! I took him back to his pasture. He was very confused by now. And I couldn’t figure out what to do.

I went back to the barn where other riders were getting horses groomed. We didn’t know if the rain would continue, or stop for a while and give us time to ride. Mustering all of the positive thinking I could, I walked back to Buckshot’s pasture, hoping, hoping, hoping that we would be able to ride, even if just for twenty minutes. We walked over without any rain falling from the skies, but, you guessed it – as we were grooming, it started raining again. Darn! I kept grooming Buckshot, taking my time with brushing his tail and mane, dragging every step out as long as possible. I looked over the stall door to the outside door- still raining. More grooming. Another look outside. Stopped raining! I then quickly tacked him up and walked him out to the muddy arena. The other riders were sitting in the adjoining barn, chatting. I didn’t know if they planned to run out and try to ride between raindrops, but I sure did!

We started our ride and did our walking warm up. That’s an oxymoron – a warm up on a sweltering summer day! LOL! But we did it- walked in interesting patterns and circles, big and small, to warm up Buckshot’s muscles and joints. Eventually the other horses and riders joined us in the arena. We did some trotting, which was nice. I even asked Buckshot for a canter, and it was perfect! Nice controlled, smooth, energetic canter. Absolutely perfect! I asked him one more time for a canter down the long rail and he did it again. This after we hadn’t really ridden in almost three weeks due to the hundred-degree-plus temperatures. What a talented horse! Then – you guessed it – it started to rain, in earnest, and so we ended the riding lesson and took our horses in to untack them. I gave Buckshot his treats – carrot, apple, horse cookies, and a mint or two. And walked him back to his pasture. He wasn’t really sweaty enough to rinse off, surprisingly. We had ridden for forty minutes, primarily at the walk. A little trotting and canter. It was wonderful to ride him, while it lasted!

On Sunday, we took three horses, including Buckshot, to the reining clinic. It was not as hot as Saturday, but still in the nineties with humidity. Riding from farm to farm in the air conditioned truck was really appreciated. When we arrived at the reining farm, we unloaded our horses and after walking Buckshot around for a few minutes, I tacked him up. Then I mounted and we started our warm up. I could feel Buckshot’s good energy, almost an eagerness, beneath me. He was looking forward to this! I think he really likes the nice thick sand footing of the reining arena. And I think he likes being around the other horses. And the reining trainer, who always asks how Buckshot is, and is always willing to accommodate Buckshot’s age and limitations. I think he has a fun time!

After our warm up, we joined the other riders doing a circling exercise. I like doing circles and Buckshot and I do a lot of them. We are pretty good at trotting circles, but not as good at cantering circles, yet. We did the other reining exercises and at one point, we had one long rail to ourselves and I used it to experiment.

I have been thinking about experimenting with giving Buckshot just a tiny bit longer rein while cantering, to see if he responds to it and perhaps responds better to my steering. But since we haven’t been able to ride much at all lately, I haven’t tried it yet. So I did on Sunday – I cued him for a canter and headed down the rail, with both my reins in one hand. He did great, and the trainer even noticed and called out a compliment to us! So for experiment #1 it was a success. I will keep working on it. After several more exercises, dark clouds started to roll in and thunder started sounding in the distance. Seeing that many horses would need to be rinsed off, and it could start to rain, or worse, at any time, I dismounted a few minutes early and took Buckshot off to untack and rinse. We got all of our horses loaded and were headed back before the skies opened up with buckets of rain. It had stopped by the time we got home, and after unloading Buckshot, he led me back to his pasture. LOL! He loves to come home and heads back to his pasture with a purposeful walk, ignoring all of the grass at his feet. I told him what a great job he had done!!

Now for an update on his new probiotic – it is still working well, and although I do see an occasional cow patty poop pile, overall it seems to work well for both horses, and has given them more solid poop. I see much less grain in the poop as well, so that is a very good thing. We’ll keep using this one for now.

The only problem Buckshot is having this summer is his front hooves, they both have a split at the heel between the bulbs. The right one is more severe than the left one. The BO and I have been watching it, and checking for thrush, and putting Farnam Thrush XX on both. I think it is due to the very dry weather we have been having. I have asked the farrrier for his recommendation as well, and he suggested continuing use of the thrush solution. The BO is checking these hooves several times during the week for me. I wish they would get better, but it must take time. He doesn’t act like they hurt him so that’s good.

Hope all of your horses are doing great this summer!!


Story said...

I think this is the first summer ever that I can remember where I found myself wishing it was autumn! They figure fire restrictions will remain in place until September. I want to go camping so badly but it's just not camping without a campfire.

I've only seen good things from letting my reins out a bit. Our maneuvers are always better but still I have such a hard time convincing myself to let go! It sure sounds like Buckshot has earned your trust. Such an awesome boy!

I've recently gone back to feeding a supplement with a probiotic as well and I think it does nothing but good! I had taken Dee off it for a couple months and I think it was a huge mistake. All happy now we're back on it. We're feeding SmartOmega 3.

We're having problems for the first time with cracking and splitting hooves, too. I might add some sort of hoof dressing to my routine.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad you got to ride and Buckshot enjoyed his time away from home for a day.

It's just been too hot everywhere this summer. I can't wait for autumn either.

Carol said...

Glad to read about your successful canter experiment. Sounds very nice.
I hope the heat lets up for you soon. It's crazy hot here in Nova Scotia too.