Scarlet got his toes done on Monday. I happened to have the day off work so it was easy to get over to the barn in mid afternoon with the farrier. He’s a bit difficult to get pinned down for an appointment. It him 3 days to get back to me after I first texted him about needing a trim. And then another 3 days or so to pin down a day. I feel like since we are just doing a barefoot trim I can’t really throw a fuss about it. He’s not exactly making a ton of money off of me. So I just will have to keep in mind for the future that I need to contact him about 1.5 weeks ahead of schedule in order to have Scarlet done about every 8 weeks.
I was a little concerned because his fronts had chipped along his quarters both sides of both feet. He hadn’t been showing any tenderness or any issue with walking. And I recalled that the quarters weren’t the weight bearing sections but I was still concerned. The farrier reassured me that that’s normal and find with the wet to dry and back again weather we’ve been having lately. His hooves got a clean bill of health so I’ve been avoiding thrush pretty well. Always a relief to here.
For how spooky Scarlet can be, he is certainly blasé about things that would set off most other horses. I definitely am grateful for how chill he can be for shoeing. Especially this last time. A house has recently been built to butt up against the barn. Their backyard lines up with the wash stalls, which is where Scarlet gets his feet done. They have two dogs. I know this because the dogs decided they wanted to run down to the fence and bark at us for about five minutes. To be fair, one of the dogs barked a time or two and then decided we were boring and left. The other just sat there barking. Scarlet didn’t care. Bothered me more than him. He barely flicked his ears back to list. And the dog was behind him barking its stupid head off. So its super lucky that Scarlet couldn’t give a flying fuck about dogs.
Our trims only take about twenty minutes now. Scarlet is mostly good at holding his own balance. There’s some moments where we have to reposition him so that his weight is better distributed before picking up a hoof but if he’s relatively square, picking up his feet is no longer a huge issue. I’m really glad they are short and really glad to have gotten this last trim done. We walked Tuesday morning and I felt like he was moving better. I think he’d been stumbling a bit more often since his toes were a bit long. Just another reason to keep in mind that I’ll need to be more proactive with this farrier to schedule earlier. I miss my old farrier and his schedule of remembering Scarlet’s shoeing dates without my input. 😦
Uno was great this Friday. Holly’s project horse was sold recently so she has had more time to ride Uno than she had before. I’m not sure if that really contributed to his behavior but it definitely didn’t hurt.
I had a limited time to ride as I needed to be off and ready to work by 10am since I had a meeting. Normally on Friday’s I have a little bit more flexible schedule but I made it work. Uno was shedding a lot so I took the time to actually go over him everywhere with the metal curry. He hates being groomed so I normally try to do only what is necessary to clean him up and get the tack on. But I wanted to help him get rid of his mammoth coat. I cannot wait until he is fully shed out. It will make grooming him so much easier.
There were two poles about four canter strides apart down the middle of the arena so I incorporated those into our warmup. Other than the first trot transitions, he was pretty responsive. The poles made him more forward as well. Much easier than fighting him. We had just started cantering when it started to rain. Uno kicked his heels up a bit but it wasn’t too hard and we were already out there. I just mentally shrugged and continued riding.
We did a lot of cantering through the poles. It went fantastic. He got super forward and felt connected to the bridle. I even felt comfortable enough with his responses that I did some two point work. I didn’t feel like I needed to have my whole body focused on booting him forward. It was great. I considered trying to jump with him but I hadn’t put my new oh-shit strap on my saddle yet. I want to have something to hold onto since I’m not as strong now.
I really hope that this week’s ride was an indication of us improving for the future. Whether it was him being ridden more, him being more responsive to me or him just having a good day, it was amazing. He felt strong and connected all over. He normally feels like a fucking splintering two by four. Just stiff and prickly and impossible to deal with. But he felt great. I need to figure out how to get that feeling with him all the time.
Stop getting hurt! Stop having blood dripped down your leg when I arrive at the barn with no source. Stop playing too hard with your neighbors. Stop having an actual bite on your ass. Also, stop shedding. It’s not warm enough to shed yet.
Seriously. I’m not sure what Scarlet is doing but I have come out to the above within 3 days. (well the shedding has been happening for a month but still). Saturday I went out and he greeted me as normal. I fed him and started picking out his feet. I go around to his right side to pick up his right fore and see this.
I took a quick picture and then got some towels and a bucket of water to start cleaning it. Scrubbed away and could not find a single point anywhere on his leg that could have been the source. I peeled back all his hair and looked super carefully even for a small puncture. Honestly if I had cordless clippers, I probably would have just shaved his leg to try to see. But there was nothing there.
I also checked over the rest of his body to see if the source could be elsewhere. I didn’t think so given how the blood clearly ran down his leg but I figured I had to check. Nothing. I checked his leg for any heat or swelling and there was nothing. He walked fine on it so I gave up trying to figure it out at that point.
Sunday he was fine. Maybe the tiniest bit of heat in his ankle on that leg but it was so minor that I couldn’t tell if that was me making a mistake, from the sun or actual heat. No swelling so I left it to be. Monday there was a bit of heat but nothing major. He walked fine and it went away after walking. But I found this while currying him on Monday.
I assume someone literally bit his ass. It looks like the right shape. Very shallow, just the first layer of skin off. But seriously horse? Just stop it. Getting hurt is so not cool.
We got a recent amount of rain for San Diego in the last few weeks. Not as much as last winter. Last winter was Noah’s Arc levels of rain. But still enough that it got pretty muddy. Luckily, the paths between the mare motels is pretty hard so it stayed walkable. There was about a 5 minute loop that we were able to walk on. Scarlet was very happy to get out. Probably too happy. I had some serious issues with a crazy horse on the end of my line.
I definitely do not mind him being crazy. But he doesn’t exactly have the best balance. So when he tries to hop and rear and just generally go crazy, it worries me. He would settle down after walking a bit. One day he didn’t but that was the wettest day and most of his stall was very wet with pretty slippery mud so he wasn’t walking much inside his stall. He threw a tantrum for basically 1/3 of each lap on our walk. We did three laps and he really wasn’t settled after. But I’ve got a limit during the morning to how long I can walk. So we made do.
I’m pretty pleased with how well Scarlet was able to walk overall. Even some spots that were wet or more slippery than I was fully comfortable with he did just fine. My biggest worry about this winter was he wasn’t going to be able to keep his footing when it rained and we wouldn’t be able to keep walking. But that didn’t happen. So we’re keeping the muscle we’ve worked up for.
I’ve still been riding Uno once a week. Holly just sold her project horse and she still seems fine with me riding. Which I really appreciate but I’m ready to be asked to contribute monetarily or have her tell me that she wants to have all days of riding back to herself. Just setting myself up in case that happens.
We’ve been doing well together. He’s still a pain but I feel like we are understanding each other better. My biggest problem always has been how reluctant he is to move forward. So for the past few rides, I’ve been trying to be very clear on my forward ask. He gets one ask and then a smack with the whip within two steps if he has not transitioned up. I then get him moving forward. At the initial trot, I take a good trot rather than a proper forward trot. After getting what I asked him for, we take walk breaks.
It seems to be working so far. I haven’t had to work nearly as hard to get him to move forward with the first ask to trot. And after we’re warmed up, I’ve been getting some crazy powerful feeling trot steps. I still can’t stand how not flexible he feels and how much he ignores my requests to get into the bridle, but its a step at a time right? We’re at least making progress.
I’m hoping to make muscle progress on myself shortly. We’ve decided to make half our garage into a gym. We’ve got the rubber flooring down and we purchased a bench that has some bars for pull ups, pushups and leg lifts on the other side. We also got a rowing machine. So once we set those up (hopefully this weekend) I plan on trying to work out more. I’ve picked up running a bit more consistently the last couple of weeks. I’m aiming for 4 mornings a week with the dog. She’s not super fast but its good for both of us. So between walks with dog and horse, runs, my ride a week and my garage gym, I’m hoping to add a lot more muscle on. I foresee a loooot of soreness in my future.