Glorious spring has come to this corner of the world....at least until Friday when snow is predicted again - boo, hiss! I took advantage of warm temperatures and sunshine to work the boys. What fun we all had...uh, didn't we Pippin? Don't you think so, Doc?
On Sunday I groomed both hairy beasts. Is there any way to groom a shedding animal without wearing half the hair? Warning...whatever you do, do not wear fleece! Oh, and did I mention velcro? I ran to a meeting last night and didn't notice until I was there that the velcro closures of my barn jacket have their own collection of honey-colored hair enmeshed in them. Luckily I was with horse people who would understand! And then there is the annoying fact that no matter how hard you try, the outcome is hair in your mouth as well. And, if you try to remove an offending hair, you end up with at least three more. Bleeechh! Ptoooey!
After our grooming I harnessed Pippin and we went on a walk-about in the neighborhood. I was thrilled with his behavior. He hasn't been in harness since just after Thanksgiving and he was good. Oh, yeah, there was the problem with the pole on the ground."THAT pole has never been THERE before!" Oh, and there was the horse that cantered about 200 feet away from us. "Can I canter, too? Huh? Huh" I never realized that Pippin could perform Grand Prix dressage movements...in harness! Well, I exaggerate, he didn't really do a piaffe, it just seemed that way! After about a mile with Pippin, it was Doc's turn. Again, we had a wonderful walk. With both boys I concentrated on 'easy walk' and 'walk on'. It was interesting to watch the changes in their strides in areas that still had snow on the ground. Walking behind provides a great opportunity to observe the length of their strides.
That evening, as I lounged on the couch only occasionally complaining to my better half about my aching feet from walking several miles in my muck boots and my sore arms from grooming the lovely hairy beasts, I wondered, as I sometimes do, just why I thought having two horses was such a great idea!
Monday was another beautiful day. Not quite so warm and sunny as Sunday, but it seemed like a great day to get the boys out again. Since my better half was away for the day I didn't want to attempt hitching by myself and Lord knows, I didn't want to go on another walk-about since my toes were still screaming at me. So, off I went to a neighbor's indoor arena to take advantage of better footing than we have outdoors. I worked with Doc on transitions and attempted to get him to collect and extend at the walk and trot. I am pleased to see that he is getting better about bending and staying in line instead of swinging awkwardly to the outside on turns. Progress...slow but steady! Then, it was Pippin's turn. Pippin has ADHD. He finds it hard to stand still and likes to move as a person tries to mount. I won't stand for that. So, I asked Pippin to move around me on a long line, change direction, change speed and halt. I'd wait for some lip-licking. I'd approach and go to his side and prepare to mount. When Pippin moved, I'd send him out again and repeat the procedure. After doing this quite a few times, Pippin finally stood. I mounted him and let him know what a fabulous Haffie he is. We walked and trotted around the arena a few times before I dismounted and began the procedure again. It didn't take nearly as much time...so maybe this is working. If any of you have a better idea, or think that I am way off track with this approach, please speak up!
A third beautiful day. Three in a row! Wow!
It seemed like it took forever, but I relieved the boys of more hair, harnessed them, did ground work with both of them and then harnessed them to the forecart for a conditioning drive around the community. We have some gentle hills so for about 45 minutes we walked around, up and down, then down and up and around again. Both boys were happy to return home. They both enjoyed a nice roll and a late afternoon nap in the sunshine.
Night Time Encounters
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