Wednesday, July 20, 2011

20m circle at the CANTER!

After Bobby's exploit yesterday, I was very watchful of him when I put him on crossties. I ran my hands all over him just to see if I can find anything obvious. Aside from the two minor scrapes on his legs from falling, there was nothing. While his lip was still tender, he wasn't drooling anymore and his lips weren't hanging down pathetically. I gave him a muscle-cramping (on my part) curry with my round rubber curry comb. I usually use a glove in the summer, but Carol (massage woman) told me to use the round curry instead to get into the muscles deeper. Well, I can tell you confidently that I worked up a serious sweat and Bobby was seriously loving it. He didn't grind his teeth a single time while I was currying his sides, back, and belly which he has always done before. He was also really pushing into me when I was currying the old injury site on his neck.

I put polos on all fours because of the scrapes; I didn't want to take the chance of anthing getting in there, superficial or not. I got his saddle and breastplate on before I saw any warning signs of going down. Unlinke Red, who tells you loud and clear the cement has won the battle, Bobby is the complete opposite. He looked like he was going to fall asleep. I gave him a little smack on the chest to get him to pay attention before I put his bridle on, but even then his eyes were closing and it just looked like he was about to fall asleep. I walked him right off as soon as I got the bridle over his ears and it seemed to take him by surprise and he kind of jumped into the walk like I had just woken him up from a nap. Narcoleptic horse? Cataplexy? Seizure? I'm not even going to finish the dreaded "E" disease.

The thing is, this is only the second time he's done this, yesterday being the first--and obviously worse than today because I was being very aware that something might happen. He doesn't do any of this while standing int he washstall, no matter how long I leave him there. He doesn't do it when tied in his stall and never has since he started tying as a yearling.

Here's what I can deduce about his sleeping habits: BO doesn't put alot of shavings in their stalls. There are rubber mats, and he gives them just enough to cover the surface. When first brought them to the barn, I know Bobby was laying down alot at night because he had some minor rubs on his hocks. Now, there are no rubs, but I've been there early enough in the morning a few times when BO is still cleaning stalls. He moves the horses to heavily bedded stalls where they stay until he's done scraping and putting in new shavings before moving them back. When Bobby gets moved to this new stall with the thick bedding, he lays down. I've seen him do it. So maybe he's not getting enough sleep because he's not getting to lay down? Of course, getting BO to just put in more shavings is not going to happen. (And on that note, I've gotten two leads for new barns. Fingers crossed!)

After I got him out to the arena, he was totally fine. Looking around, watching Red in the field, paying attention to me. He didn't grind his teeth when I tightened his girth, and he was completely attentive when I put the draw reins on. I decided I'm going to have to get over my fear of draw reins. I don't want to be constantly pulling at his mouth to get him to bend which I know I have a bad habit of doing, and he really understands the draw rein concept. I don't like using them, but I do know how so they're definitely a better alternative. I won't use them every day by any means, but probably twice a week.

We worked at the walk for a solid twenty minutes, mostly just getting him to come up and in and getting a nice forward walk going. When I did ask him for the trot, he went right into it with the first squeeze. We trotted for fifteen minutes working solely on bending and circles. As always, he was better to the right, so today I was really focusing on loosening up his neck to the left. Easier said than done. I was working on a 20m circle the whole time, so each time I got him to turn his face in just a smidgen--just enough to see his eye--I'd let him trot out 40m. I found I had the most success when I swung my inside leg really far back to push his hind end along with his front end, but it was hardly good equitation.

We both needed a breather after that, so I let him walk three times around the whole arena on the buckle while I drank some water. I was slow to bring him back in to the trot because I didn't want him to get tense. It payed off because when we started trotting again he was much easier to bend. I worked him to the left again for about five minutes and while nowhere near perfect, he was going much better than he has been.

I picked up the canter to the right first to give his left side a break. He picked up the wrong lead the first time, but got it the second time. I did the full 40m a few times before asking for the 20m. His first time was all over the place, his second time was strung out but better, and his third time was as good as I've been getting. I let him go around once more before switching directions. We did one 40m circle before asking for the 20m. The first time was counter bent, but the second time he was ON! I made a serious point of keeping my heels jammed down because I tend to let them drift up when I try to to get him to bend around my leg so I lose my balance and my leg gets sloppy, then my seat gets sloppy, then we both fall apart. But he did it the best he's done yet so I left it there. I originally planned on running through the BN test, but he did such a good job I didn't want it to fall apart.

I gave him a bath, painted his feet, put on a little TriCare, and gave him a monster load of hay. I didn't turn him out because the grass is short out in the paddocks and I didn't want to bother his lip.

Silly me, I put hay in Red's stall too, but decided I wanted his full attention while I weight taped him, worked on some massage moves, and groomed him. So I cross-tied him. HA! It started off well enough. He stood well for his grooming, and I did the myofacial release and the tongue pull with him. He looved the tongue pull. His eye was really relaxed and his ears were flopped sideways. I was basically just holding his tongue out of the way for him as he worked it all over the place. When I finally let go, he yawned and wagged it around a few seconds before letting out huge sigh.


And then I started to tack him up. I got the pad on fine. I got the saddle on fine. I got one side of the girth on fine. Then he started dancing and twitching and giving every indication he was about to lay down. I got him to stand still for all of two seconds for me to un-tie him. I walked him to the end of the aisle and back before putting his lead rope on and ground-tying him. I finished doing up his girth, put his bridle on, then I dared to ask him to step back off of the lead rope. He threw up his head, scrambled backwards, and fell down.


Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, there was no need for alarm. He stayed down without flailing around or freaking out. I got the reins over his head so he wouldn't step on them getting back up, then waited for him to decide he was ready to stand. He got up fine the first time without a scratch. I've been extremely luck so far that he's never hurt himself. And before anyone has a total "Oh Em Gee, your poor poniiieee!!!" moment, he has had a full run through on vets. Nothing physical or neuro is wrong with him! He just DOES. NOT. like cement.

I lunged him in side reins for a total of fifteen minutes at the walk and trot. He moved out fine and was reaching for the bit well. I gave him a bath too before I finally let him get to his hay.

I've gotten two maybe leads on new barns, but I'm still waiting to hear back. Hopefully the next barn is alot closer because my car is having some serious issues and I don't know how long she's going to last.

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