Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Catching Up

Team Teal.
I have been a remiss blogger. I feel terrible, knowing I'm keeping all of you from ogling photos of this hunky little bay horse and his supermodel of a chestnut older brother. Plus, I really value having a chronicle of our training. I'm lacking those updates here. Eek!

In an effort to catch up, I offer you this "wordless" Wednesday photo tour of the last couple of months. Prepare yourself, make sure you're on wifi, and enjoy the tour!
When I started Bast back to regular work at his new barn, I made a point to put more time into lunging. I hoped to keep his stress levels down, while still getting him worked and handled on a schedule. As he recovered from his fence injury, lunging also helped us build strength in his hind end and work out the sore parts.
Pig has really come into his own in his herd dynamics. His favorite place to be is 2nd in command, and he finally landed his favorite position after befriending the muzzled mare to his right. He's her best lieutenant, and in exchange no one messes with him and she lets him share the waterer with her. #itslove
Megan came to visit us for a whirlwind moment while she was out looking for Spicy! I forced her to get on Bast and ride him around. They made such a cute pair! I hadn't seen anyone else ride him in almost a year, so this was a real treat for me.
Keeping with the blogger meet up-dates, Emma swung by after we both did a volunteering stint at Loch Moy's dressage show. She got to see the farm and hang out with the ponies while I ran around and tried to get them both fed.
Bast and I had our first lesson in months. It was awesome, but the moment where Bast drank out of this scuzzy mud puddle for about 5 minutes straight (complete with hilarious sucking noises) was the most memorable part. Well, that and the fact that I need to stop pushing him past his rhythm. More on that later...
Bast and Asterid met the first day I brought her home, and it was clear from first sniff that Asterid was going to get along great with the horses.
I took some time off work at the start of July, just so I could spend a few days hanging out with the animals in the fields. #soworthit
All that time off meant both horses got ridden regularly. I enlisted random barn friends to help me get both of them worked on occasion. I put Bast through his paces. Once he was done and needed walked out, I swapped with my friend so I could hop behind my favorite red ears.
At the start of July, Bast's trot work started to really come around. He's starting to figure out how to sit and build more suspension. It's a really cool process, and I'm excited to watch it develop.
Of course, what is time off without injuries? During a random hike, Asterid wandered in front of me and I took a tumble, spraining my middle finger. Over a month later, and it's still healing. The doctor thinks I tore a tendon, which seems highly likely. Sprained fingers make life surprisingly difficult!
The boys, taking a joint bath. I love how much having these two together helps Bast learn appropriate behaviors and build confidence. There are many times I've seen Bast get worried about something, glance at Pig who is dozing, and immediately calm right down.
Riding Pig in a rainstorm. The old man is definitely lame and stiff, but he so enjoys his rides. The days after I ride him, he usually comes running to me in the pasture. It's pretty cute. I don't work him in anything over a first level frame any more, and even that is pretty downhill and relaxed. His strength isn't there, and his neck arthritis is progressing to a point that his soundness is effected.
While Bast was having some really great breakthroughs in the trot, the canter totally fell apart in July. This culminated in him bolting on me in the ring. I decided that night he needed another break. I wasn't sure if the hard hematoma bits were still breaking down in his hind leg, or if he was just feeling overfaced. Either way, time off would solve the problem.
Even with a horse on rest, I still found myself at the barn nearly every day to feet this redhead child, and hike and train the dogs.
Bast's vacation coincided with a set of massive rainstoms that pounded the DC region. He clearly enjoyed himself to the fullest in the flooding.
Pig also was put to work during this time... as a low key dog walker and hacking companion. One of these days I'll need to put the saddle on him and ride through some of his sassy backtalk, but for now he's been allowed to get away with murder while I cling to the bareback pad.
I started riding Dobare in longer training rides. We went out to the local mountain trails, as well as the trails around the barn. We started plotting conditioning strategies.
Bast spent more of his time off learning humans are great because his human wanders into the field and feeds him carrots, chases off the bullies, and then scratches his itchiest bits. And, he has a lot of itchy bits.
Meanwhile, Pig is utterly tortured by flies. I start to think maybe he will actually spend more time eating if he spent less time flinging his head around and biting at flies. I buy him a cheap fly sheet, expecting him to destroy it within minutes of being turned loose.
The fly sheet unexpectedly survives in perfect condition. While he sweats more under it, he seems more comfortable. I also notice he gets less cuts and bites while wearing it. This is not because the sheet protects him, but I believe because he is no longer careening around trying to swat at bugs. Fly sheet is a rousing, though unexpected, success.
Over the summer Bast learned to stand politely when tied, thanks to these massive hitching posts and some creative loops in the lead rope. I learned that he'll fight a tie, but gives up and is very thoughtful about his thrashing. The horse might be missing a few screws, but he has a sense of self preservation in there!
Pig and Asterid enjoying a good long dog walk. There's nothing like taking a dog out alongside a horse to make you feel like multi-tasking. I love exercising two sets of animals at once! Asterid is still learning to turn left and right on voice command, so I only trust her walking with Pig. He's very good with dogs, and very good in tight situations. He also will step on her when she gets in his way, but gently. It's a lesson she needs to learn.
Bast came back to work, and I started lunging him before every ride at first. This was less to "take the edge off" but more to get him picking up both canter leads in a much more low stress fashion. I was hoping this would translate under saddle. We did have one big fight on the lunge line, which seems to have forced him to realize he maybe shouldn't ignore the human.
I've increased Pig's meals over the summer, in an attempt to keep weight on him. This means many nights and mornings are spent hanging out with him and the dogs while he sloooowly eats his pounds of alfalfa, beet pulp, and grain. I'd say it was boring, if it wasn't so damn beautiful out there.
Lyra has been hiding from the heat and storms the last few months, but still adores exploring alongside the horses. She wanders into the rings while I ride, as if to beg us to go wandering around the fields so she can hunt for mice and groundhogs.
This picture almost makes Bast look as tall as Pig. I am not sure how tall Bast is now, but I feel as though he's grown in the last month or so. He's not taller than Pig, though he is built less downhill in front, so appears that way at times!
There's been a lot of goofing off at the barn, and hours spent just enjoying being around my horses and new friends. Can't ask for more.
Stay tuned for more adventures while I put this little horse back to solid work and we start pounding away at dressage work again!

22 comments:

  1. Barn shenanigans and low-key time are some of the best moments to enjoy in the summertime. So glad everyone is doing well and enjoying the summer months. Hopefully Pig will put on some poundage in the very near future <3 <3 <3

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    1. Fingers are so crossed on that last one!

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  2. Aw so many things to be happy about here - Bast is looking like a million bucks and it’s gotta feel awesome to have Asterid settle in so well with the rest of the family. Also I hear you on pushing the horse past his rhythm. I spent so long just focusing on forward with Charlie at the expense of literally anything else that it took me a while to realize - actually if I let him he will now carry himself in a pretty reasonable gear and maybe I should back off a bit lol

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    1. Omg. Why is it so hard to let them go slower though? Haha!

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  3. time off is a good idea. sometimes they just need a reset. ive been doing the lunging thing to work on the canter with spicy as well, but mostly bc i'm so out of shape I'm sure the first time I ask him for the canter I'm going to throw my upper body at his ears like a savage and confuse the crap out of him.

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    1. Hmm that sounds familiar. Lol! Though actually, I think my problem is getting left behind when he LAUNCHES!

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  4. Wow can we talk about how Bast's neck is changing? He is turning into a sporty little thing!

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    1. It's seriously his best feature. I drool over it daily.

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  5. That is a lot of teal LOL. Bast looks great though, and I really love how regal he looks in a drop. That matters in tack choices, right?

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    1. I was SOOO worried he'd look super dumb in it. Sometimes he does, but for the most part I think he can pull it off. Whew!

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  6. yay i missed your blogs so glad to get an update! All animals look happy and well......and yes the fly sheet is amazing the diff it makes on them flinging themselves around. I am going away this week so told Mark not to bother with them but ugh I dread poor Remus without one for the week (Husband is not real comfy around the horses so didn't think we needed to intro that part of putting a sheet on)> Bast looks great, Astrid looks settled, and Pig and Lyra look great too :) YAY! (and ouch your finger)!

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    1. I've been taking Pig's off in the rainstorms we've had recently, but I think it's about time to put it back on. It really is such a lifesaver!

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  7. Your instagram brings me lots of joy; you have such happy animals! It's nice to hear that the perception is reality, as well; it sounds like everyone is learning and growing, and gosh your farm is so beautiful!

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    1. Aw yay! Right now, I feel like I'm in awe of the sunsets at the farm every night. I feel so lucky to enjoy them!

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  8. I have been wondering how you are doing. Thanks for the update. Bast is looking good!

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  9. Glad everything continues to chug along in Austen-land! <3

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  10. I’ve also had a nice relaxing break this summer but I’m really looking forward to getting Katai back in consistent work and to following your continued progress with Bast!

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  11. Awww such good months! The pictures are gorgeous, and I'm glad Asterid has been settling well, too! Good to hear from you!

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  12. This whole post just made me smile. There's something about the day in and day out at the barn, with the horses and dogs that make my heart happy, even when the work is hard.

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