Friday, April 26, 2013

Maintenance, the Story of the Week

Guinness has officially been back in work since last Wednesday, and back to trotting and cantering since Monday. I'm glad to say that everything with the leg has held up, and he's working just fantastically on it!
Yarr! Now introducing Pirate Guinness! He's apparently recruited a starling as his personal groom. (look at the right shoulder) 
The story of my life for the two weeks has really been "maintenance". Maintaining an older horse in full training often feels like it takes a bucket of know-how, a pool of luck and a bank full of cash. Here are just a few things we've been dealing with:


  • Living outside in all the wet weather we've been battling (holy serious flooding on the Wabash, guys) has created some soft feet that are a little sensitive to rocks. Luckily Pig is still sound as can be on soft ground, but he might have a slight stone bruise on the front right. I'm thankful for the soundness I have, though; and I'm pulling out all my sore foot tricks to keep him motoring along happily. It's always something with this horse.
  • Having Tuesday and Wednesday off, Pig should have been perky and ready to go for our ride last night. Of course, he stayed up late partying in the newly opened grass part of his pasture instead of resting up for work. He was one tired pony, napping in the crossties and a little sticky off my leg in the ring.


  • Trying to bring back Pig slowly after an injury is always hard, due to his incredible base of fitness. Two weeks off and he'd only lost a touch of topline. I'm so lucky with that, but it makes rationalizing a slow and steady return to work hard. To try to combat that, I've been starting our rides with a walk up the road and up and down a hill there. During this walk, I've been working on taking contact, letting him stretch back down into a free walk, and filling up my outside reins by leg yielding from one side of the road to the other. Taking that work into the ring has meant that I have a forward and comfortable horse who's ready to work almost as soon as we get in. Very effective.


  • We have also been working through some some arthritis stiffness. The bipolar weather and stall rest caused a touch more inflammation than I'm comfortable with. If I had it in the budget, he'd be getting injections right now. Unfortunately his copious injuries have depleted the vet budget. Sorry, buddy. It's just long, long warm-ups, Sore-no-More and the occasional bute when absolutely necessary. 

Maintenance also means maintaining my supplies. (Can't let the birds do all the hard work!) Grooming supplies seem to last forever, but last week I did have to replace one of my favorites - the grooming mit. Check out this side by side comparison shot:
Can you tell I use this alllll the time?
This thing is an absolute lifesaver when dealing with my sensitive-skinned thoroughbred. He's often so ticklish on his belly and legs that this is just about the only thing that can be used to massage off the mud and shedding hair. I do have to recommend it for putting a shine on the coat, though. A good once over with this after a hard curry really brings the oils to the surface. For under $3, it's worth it.

Anyone out there with an older campaigner? How do you keep them going? Anyone out there have favorite grooming supplies that you just can't live without?


2 comments:

  1. Will have to get a grooming mit to try on our OTTB, Cheers. Another super sensitive TB. So happy to hear Guinness is back at it! And we do plan on being at HHP for IDS schooling show on May 11th. See you there :)

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  2. Absolutely try the mitt! Sometimes it's the only thing I can really get all the dirt of with. Also worth it for horses who like to rub their heads in mud (luckily, not mine!)

    Hooray! See you at IDS! I'm mailing my form tonight!

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