"Post from the Past"
February 17th 2008
Doni did not end up coming out with me yesterday. It was such a nice day, partly cloudy, sometimes sunny, and melty, that I couldn’t bear working in the round pen in the barn. Instead, I worked Catlow for just a few minutes in the barn, then took her out for a walk. We went north out of the driveway, down to where the loop joins Dry Creek Rd, then back. The gravel was saturated with water and nice and soft and squishy. I liked that Catlow was curious and comfortable enough about her surroundings to drop her head to investigate the footing whenever it changed. And she walked through puddles with no problem.
This lesson consisted of me leading her, then stopping every once in a while to ask her to yield the fores and hinds, and back up. She came along well, but going away from the house, she did her usual barn sour stop, and I’d have to pull on her head until she decided to follow me again. She’s quite stubborn. She did get nervous when we went past Harriet’s pastures as she could see the other horses and she wasn’t sure what to do. I just tried to keep her occupied with flexing and pivoting. She flexed every time as asked, and we really only got into one disagreement where she was stiff and decided to spin around instead of flex, but she did eventually stop and flex. When she was nervous, her flexing was rapid, she touched me with her nose rather firmly, then pulled her head back straight to stare out across the field. I tried to ask her to keep her head flexed, and she would flex, then start to pull her head back, find that I was still holding her head, flex again, then again, then again…trying to pull her head back straight. I kept her flexed until she started to be less resistant about it. She didn’t completely calm down. But it was obvious that the flexing we did in the round pen helped her. She’s a bit more automatic about it, and understands what I’m asking of her. And she did calm down after the first initial freak about seeing the other horses. On the way back from our walk, she didn’t stop once (a little barn sour). Since she was walking up much nicer, I took advantage of this and asked her to trot alongside me, which she did immediately, then “whoa” and back up. She was catching on pretty good, although I’d like her to listen to the “whoa” a bit more instead of only relying on my body language. That will help once I’m in the saddle.
After I was done with Catlow, I pulled Todd (who had a mild flu) out of the house to take a few pictures of her (hence the grouchy expression). Then I put my new bridle (got the loop reins and slobber straps!!! Yay!!!) on Cody and we went for a quick bareback ride down the road and back. I do think that the molasses is negatively impacting Cody. She’s not lame right now, but she has super obvious bulges in the hoof where there has been new growth since December. It’s scary. I’d like to have the vet out or show it to someone other than Todd's mom so I have an unbiased opinion about what it was caused by and how severe it was. I just don’t want my horses to be injured. They do not NEED the molasses lick. They are all fat, so I’d rather not take the risk if they could possibly hurt my horses, even if they were not the cause of the weird hoof growth or wearing.
A pic of Catlow on this day. Notice the brown smudge across her nose from licking the molasses/protein bin all day.