Floating

Scarlet got his teeth floated on Thursday. The vet said he looked pretty good for a 19 year old horse. Yay! I was a little worried because I wasn’t sure when the last time he had them done was. I was also worried about how he would react to the floating. When I first had Scarlet, we would have to give him one and a half or two doses of sedative. He really didn’t like getting his teeth floated and his fear would just bully right through sedation. 

Luckily, he seems to have gotten over that. We gave him a dose, stuck his butt to a fence and got to work. He was pretty good. He didn’t even lift his head too high. Which is good because our vet is a tiny little Irish man. I got to help hold his head still. I’ve never helped out before so that was interesting.

Scarlet came out of sedation well and he seems to be doing just fine. I hope he feels better while eating. I hadn’t noticed any real signs of pain or difficulty while eating so I don’t really have a base line to gage if things are better or not.

We rode Saturday morning. I’ve been trying to make sure we do some cantering in our warmup phase to see if he loosens up better at that gait. I honestly can’t tell. I’m not sure if he is more loose or if he is just anticipating cantering again and that is why he is moving more forward. In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter why as long as he moves forward. I hosed him off after the ride and let him graze for a bit. Horse grazing always amuses me. They stuff as much as possible as quick as possible in their mouth like it’s going away.

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Good Rides

So I haven’t ridden much in the past week. It’s been hot again and I’ve been lazy. Not a great excuse but its what I have. I had planned on getting Scarlet’s teeth floated on Thursday and then riding this weekend. But the vet’s truck broke down so we rescheduled for next Thursday.

I did get out on Thursday and have an amazing ride. We didn’t do anything special but while trotting around. There were moments where Scarlet really felt like he was in a frame. It was wonderful. I was scared to move because I didn’t want to ruin it.

I also rode on Monday. The daughter of the barn owner was riding her horses and had one on the hot walker. It’s always chaos when she is out there as her horses run around kinda nutty. Scarlet was super tense at the beginning of the ride. His sides felt rock hard. I focused on just keeping him moving forward. We managed to relax after cantering for a while.

I’ve been looking into supplements quite a bit lately. I’ve never really considered them as I’ve never done any high-performance things with Scarlet. I’ve been thinking about a bioflax supplement for hoof and coat but I haven’t purchased it yet. I was talking with a coworker on Friday and she suggested some joint supplement since Scarlet is older. I’ve never really thought about joint supplements as there is really very little evidence that they work in the scientific sense. Joint injections do as they add more fluid to the joint. But nothing is really conclusive. I did consider purchasing MSM. It’s an anti-inflammatory agent so it would definitely benefit if he has some arthritis issues. It is about 12 bucks for a 2.25lb bag at a store near me. I read a lot of reviews about it and people have had mixed results. It seems like 60% have seen improvement, 20% have seen no change and 20% have seen negative results. I figured I could try it for a bit to see if it helps at all. It most likely will not hurt him. If he has a bad reaction, I’ll just remove it.

Bath Time!

Its been a while since I had given Scarlet a full bath, due to the drought that California has been stuck in for a while. I decided that it was a good time to give him a full on scrubbing with soap and everything. On Sunday, we did a little ride and then I tied him up in the wash rack and got started. Scarlet has never been a horse that is comfortable with baths. He gets really anxious and scared of the hose. The only time he has ever bitten me was while being washed.

He was pretty anxious to start out but I loaded up a bucket with treats and took it slow when I started hosing him off. I long ago figured out that if I always keep a hand on him while spraying water, he stays much calmer. I gave him treats after each step of the way and he calmed down eventually. He would still snort occasionally at the suds under his feet but much better than he normally is. It was fun to get him all squeaky clean. I let him hand graze for quite a while after the bath. I wanted him at least close to dry before I put him back in his pen. I didn’t want to go through all the effort to wash him and then have him coat himself in mud. He seemed to appreciate the gesture. He was all soft afterwards. I don’t know if he cared about that but it made me happy.

He managed to not get himself too dusty by the time I rode again on Monday. We did a basic warm up and then I decided to work a tiny bit of counter canter into our ride. We did okay one way but worse the other. I should add that in more often as it is a great strengthening tool. I know how to make sure we do not overtax ourselves so as long as I am steady and make sure that he is warmed up before, we should be alright. I hope that it helps me improve the motorcycle lean that he sometimes has on that lead. It should since he will strengthen his leg immensely doing counter-canter. I want to make sure we are steadily improving so that I can take full advantage of the facilities at our new barn. That and it keeps me focused on riding rather than just letting him carry me in a circle. While that is fun, I need to improve as much as he improves.

Date Confirmed

I have now nailed down the date to move to the new barn. My current barn has you pay board based on the day of the month you initially moved in on. Since that was the 10th for me, I had already paid for board by the time that I got confirmation that I would be able to move to the new place. So I spoke with my friend who said she would be able to trailer us over and the new barn manager. My friend is okay with moving me any day and the new barn manager is okay with me moving in slightly after the start of the month. So I will be officially be moving in on the 6th of August. I cannot even explain how excited I am.

When I went out riding on Friday, Scarlet came the closest he has come yet to actually unseating me since I got him back. It was really windy and there were other people who were out riding. The other people weren’t really the issue. He likes seeing other horses out and about and we have long since gotten past the other-horses-cause-me-to-go-crazy stage. We started riding around like normal and had gotten through most of our warm up. Usually, we have experienced everything we would normally have to deal with and everything is good after our warm up. This time, we were coming around on the fence side he dislikes occasionally but everything seemed good. I was just considering sitting and asking for a canter when he bolted. Sideways leap, twisting body, half rear, full-scale bolt. I was left half in the air along the rail and half in the saddle. I leaned way off the left side and had enough time to even think “Crap I’m gonna fall.” before I somehow managed to get back in the saddle. Still not sure how I managed that. The monster Scarlet ran from? The neighbor walking toward the fence. I couldn’t get him fully settled for the whole rest of the ride.

I told my current barn owner that I was leaving. It’s a fairly informal place so there is no 30-day notice clause. I waited to tell her until I had a specific date to move out. I was nervous to tell her. I definitely want to leave the barn and find a place with a higher level of care but she was very nice and easy to work with. It was nice to have the barn available so easily when I had to move Scarlet with short notice. The care may  not have been the best but I wasn’t paying much. I got what I paid for and I’m happy with that. But I am happy that a new chapter is opening up. Scarlet will have a better place to live, lots of food and turn out. I will have a community of people to ride with and better facilities to ride in. I don’t know how I am going to wait the three weeks till we move.

YES!

On Sunday I took a tour of the barn I want to move to and discussed the rules and how things go. I really like the place. There are two arenas, a round pen, several hitching posts, some crossties, a wash rack or two and several tack rooms. And jumps! One of the arenas is a jumping arena with a bunch of standards and poles. I’m super excited about that.

The board option I’m looking at for Scarlet is a half covered mare motel. He will have a couple of hours of turnout on dry pasture each day. He gets to have more food there and the pens have a raised portion that has rubber mats with shavings. So in the winter, he will have a nice dry place to stand.

I will be moving come the beginning of August. I’m not sure which weekend as I’m still working out getting there. A coworker’s friends have a trailer and she is going to ask them if they would mind moving me. Otherwise, the barn manager at my new barn said to let her know if I need help moving. I’m very excited and looking forward to all the new opportunities at this new barn.

I really messed up my back on Thursday. The chiro appointment was really necessary as my back had been hurting since we jolted. Even after the adjustment, my back was sore. It was a much better sore since my back was in the correct position. But it takes a while for my muscles to be happy after having been in the wrong position for so long. Since I was so tender, I only walked and trotted a bit on Tuesday. I’ll probably be doing more progressively as the week goes on. Hopefully, my back heals quickly as it being sore is really not fun when you sit at a computer for eight hours a day.

Change?

Scarlet and I had some good rides this week. We didn’t have too spooky of a time, which is heartening. I’m trying to make sure that I focus on moving forward and moving through whenever he starts to look at something. I know he is going to look but I want him to be able to keep going forward. We seem to be making some progress with that.

Thursday we had a normal ride but Scarlet stepped right down into the little ditch that has developed from drainage in the arena and I came down hard on his back. It really messed up my lower back. It was quite sore for the next couple of days. Good thing I have a chiro appointment on Monday.

I made an appointment to get him shod on Friday as he was getting a little long. My farrier is pretty good and will go out while I’m at work and do Scarlet. Scarlet’s never really had an issue with the farrier. Except for lipping at their back pockets, he has always stood very nicely. I went out on Friday and his feet hadn’t been done. I sent a text to the farrier and got on to ride. I was almost through our warm-up when the farrier pulls up. He had been next door and had run late on his jobs that day. He had another horse to do at my barn so I finished riding before he did Scarlet. We put back shoes on him again as it kept his feet much more even overall and the ground is hard right now so it’s good to help protect his feet.

It turns out the new horse next to him is a mare and she just went into heat. She decided Scarlet was her man and lost her mind when I pulled him out for the ride. She was screaming the whole time, even though the pens are right next to the arena and she could see him the whole time. I didn’t know Scarlet was so desirable to the ladies. For his credit, he was quite calm and didn’t get worked up during our ride.

I may be moving barns soon. There is a barn not too far from my house that is hunter/jumper focused and they have one stall open in my price range. I’ve been to the barn before for a couple of lessons and like it. I’m going to do a formal tour tomorrow and, hopefully, everything works out. If so, I’ll be moving there come the beginning of August. Better care for Scarlet, better facilities for riding and a trainer on site for whenever I can scrounge up the extra cash for lessons. I’m really excited about this as it will mean a lot more things for us to do while riding and the potential of having a barn community to be a part of. I’d really love that.

Windy and Tense

Scarlet and I had a really tense ride on Tuesday. It had been a bit since we had ridden since the three-day weekend saw me heading out of town. I expected the ride to not be as great as out last one. It honestly wasn’t bad but boy was Scarlet tense.

It was really windy when I got on. This means that the metal around the arena was vibrating and anything that could whip and twist with the wind was. To be fair to Scarlet, he really wasn’t spooking much at things. He was looking and shying away but we didn’t have any serious sideways movement.

I had planned on just going out and walking and trotting around, maybe a little no stirrup work. But when he was tense at both the walk and the trot, I knew I needed to get his brain moving forward, not up. So we cantered around in both directions a lot. I had to use a lot of leg to get him to move forward and keep moving forward. It took a while but we eventually worked out enough energy that he could relax some.

I am getting better at sitting the trot. I honestly think that the bareback ride and the stirrup-less ride I did really helped me with this. Since tensing up doesn’t help when trying to stay on without a saddle, I was better able to feel how my hips, knees, and ankles were supposed to flex and work together to help me absorb the trot rhythm. Its getting better for sure. Its nice to see improvements both in myself and in Scarlet. It tells me I’m doing something right after all.

Perfect Ride

Scarlet and I had an amazing ride on Thursday. I’m not even sure why it went so well. I wish I knew so I could repeat the process but I don’t know. 

He was very calm, focused and forward. We had some of our normal lookey-lou moments but he didn’t spook. I just rode him in circles in the areas till we relaxed. He was on the bit at all gaits and was responding to my queues. We didn’t even do anything amazing, we just rode in circles. But I was really happy and relaxed when I got off. Being so upset with myself and lack of motivation lately, that ride was exactly what I needed right then. It just set my whole being back into balance. Maybe Scarlet realized that and rode well just for me. Or he could have just been in a good mood. Either one works for me!