A Waste

The next two weeks ended up with me waiting to get a shoe on him from my farrier. That was incredibly stupid on my part. He was out of town and implied he would get someone out there for him. Never heard from him. Followed up when he was supposed to be back. Again, never heard from him. Finally got the name of someone who comes to Ezio’s barn every Thursday and go it back on almost a full two weeks after.

So we spent two weeks carefully turning out and running him just enough that he wasn’t completely wild but not enough to cause him to be sore. He got his vaccines during this and only had a small bump on either side which was fine. Went away in a day or so.

He also decided he wanted to be a huge shit one of the days early in that two weeks and as I was leading him out of the arena and pushing the gate open, he reached forward and BIT MY ARM. I was so pissed. I bruised really badly too.

I was very pissed at him and am extremely vigilant about his mouth now. It’s very frustrating and I definitely need to figure out some good ways to add more ground work into our lives.

He was more or less normal other than that. We turned out daily and I groomed him when I felt like it. Just enough grooming so he didn’t look feral. He finally got a shoe on 6/23, nearly two weeks after he pulled it off. I may end up switching farriers since as of writing this post on 6/26, I have yet to hear back. I need a farrier who is good at communication and this isn’t the first problem. He’s been bad at communicating before but is so good with Scarlet.

Scarlet’s doing fine. He also got his boosters when Ezio did and had larger reactions to the vaccines. Nothing major still. Just larger bumps. He also got some acupuncture while the vet was out.

I think both my boys were conspiring together as mid last week, Scarlet was trying to kick at a fly and launched a forward hind kick right into the side of my knee. Luckily it was forward and without a lot of force because wow was I sore for a few days, but don’t seem to have any lasting issues. It was definitely not on purpose as he’s never hurt me deliberately in the entire time I’ve known him.

So now we are caught up. I’m bruised from both horses, made mistakes waiting on someone to respond and we now have two shoes back on Ezio so he can be ridden again!

Forward and Back

Trying to catch up on recapping (gosh I’m a terrible blogger sometimes) so this all takes place from 6/4-6/10.

I rode in the back arena for the first time since there was a lesson going on in our normal arena. Someone was free longing so I waited outside for them to finish and talked to my across the street neighbor while waiting. Ezio is so friendly that it was difficult to keep him in place as he wanted to say hi to her and to the horse she was leading at the time. He did really well once we got in the arena. He wasn’t spooky and even behaved when someone came in to longe while we were riding.

That was a Saturday and that Sunday I decided to give him a bit of a turn out to see if that helps how difficult he seems to be after days off. He wasn’t super interested in running and I’d forgotten my whip so I only ran him a little bit.

I ended up grooming him in his stall on Monday since the sprinklers tend to interfere with the time I arrive at the barn. I really have no desire to try to walk him past sprinklers where he will get suddenly sprayed on the butt. He was okay, just wiggly. During the ride he was again distracted by the lady riding and leading her horses around the property. She does it every week but it is still the most attention grabbing thing Ezio has ever seen.

We cantered a bit but he broke from the canter on both leads. I need to work more on that with him so we can figure out what helps (cantering only on straight, cantering big circles etc) so that he can get stronger. I also need to canter more when I have time to trot and walk more afterward as he begins to anticipate that we are cantering now once we do it. I was running a bit late but he was so sweaty that I knew I had to hose him off because it would be so uncomfortable for him otherwise. He sweats very easily which is a good thing, just inconvenient.

I had a lesson planned for that Friday and I was hoping to get better exercises to challenge him a bit more. He’s definitely still benefiting from the exercises we are doing, but I wanted to have a level 2 set of tools to use sometimes. His shoulders do seem to take a while to warm up where he doesn’t fall through them but that’s a strength thing. Unfortunately, he decided to pull his shoe sometime between longing on Thursday and when I went out Friday morning for the lesson. So no lesson for us.

Taking a Step Back

This next chunk of time happened to start the day my cat decided to get sick. That Monday, Ezio ended up being quite difficult.

I started grooming him normally. I asked a lady I’ve talked with to hold him so I could do his feet and it went well. He was acting spooky due to the tractor moving around, or so I thought. And then I was trying to put on a smaller girth since the 50 he has goes to holes 5 and 4 when tightened. But he bloats to start so it was difficult. And then it happened.

Ezio freaked out about something and pulled back. Hard. He’s been wearing a rope halter so he didn’t get to break away. And he freaked out so hard that my quick release knot became not quick release. I couldn’t yank at it from the front as he danced toward me and almost pinned me between the pole and him. I had to yank from the other side of the crossties and it took a few yanks to get it loose. By the time I got him loose he had managed to stretch the rope halter enough to slip his nose out of the loop. He wasn’t hurt, which I was grateful for but it was… not great.

He calmed down well enough so I gave up on the smaller girth and hopped on him for a very short ride before work. He was great for the ride but this was something that seriously needed addressing. He could have hurt himself, the ladies at the barn, me and the horses around him with his freak out. I did actually get kinda hurt. My back hurt for the next day or so from trying to move to yank him out.

He’s really cute for how frustrating he can be.

After that day, I knew I had nothing in me left to ride for a while. I had several sleep deprived nights trying to figure out what was wrong with my cat so I needed something I could work on but not do anything strenuous. So Ezio and I began some ground work boot camp for the next four days. I learned a lot about what he has and doesn’t have in regards to ground manners.

Despite longing well for the PPE, when I tried to do it, he was wild and kept turning me into a water skier. So I free longed him until he was more chill and then we tried again with just walking and a bit of trot. Over the days we didn’t do much on the longe line practice but we did practice on the end of his lead line at the walk. He improved a little but its still a work in progress.

We did a lot of hand walking around the barn. He doesn’t halt during the longing practice so he doesn’t have a great concept or respect for the verbal command. He will do it just fine when walking with him though, which is good we have at least that. He does have issues with hand walking when he has too much energy. We had a nice tantrum right next to the dressage arena once while waiting for an arena to open for turn out. There was also a lesson happening in there so I felt absolutely terrible. Luckily no one has gotten mad about any of his antics yet.

Seriously cute

He is still ridiculously mouthy. A lot of the hand walking was spent arguing with him about not biting me and not biting at his lead rope. He will also curl his head to try to nip at me while I’m grooming or standing next to him. I decided that I needed to address this and he’s no longer getting treats by hand. I don’t want to not treat him at all though. He’s very food motivated so I definitely want to use that. I’ve now got a bucket that I use while grooming and stuff to drop a treat in. Hopefully he will slowly stop associating me as a treat dispenser and he will stop biting at me.

We also tried a bit of moving his quarters away from a whip tapping. He’s very dull to it. Well, dull might not be the right word. I’ve found that he doesn’t bother responding to a cue unless he 100% knows what the right answer is. He just ignores it. So I have to be very harsh for a teaching cue and then slowly back off from there. So I had to smack him with the longe whip to get him to move. I only tried that one day and decided that it wasn’t a thing I wanted to focus on yet given that he had so much else we needed to focus on first.

Over the course of almost a week of not riding, I definitely figured out a lot of holes in his ground work. This isn’t really surprising in one way since he is an OTTB and they don’t usually come out with ground manners. But he is so, so easy under saddle that I think I was not prepared for all the holes that showed themselves over the time of working with him. I have plans for working on most of them but it will take time and me being quite clear with him. I also cannot forget that I need to work on ground work, even when I want to ride him.

New fly mask. Hopefully this one doesn’t rub him raw.

Second Lesson

There’s a lot to catch up on here. I meant to write all of this a week ago Monday but that day, our cat decided he needed to visit the ER vet and my entire week got swallowed in worry. And then as happens when you fall behind, I fell more behind. So, several catch up posts are to come. Luckily, I recently started keeping notes on every day I’m out so I’ve got references to see use for catchup.

I spoke with Trainer J about my issues with lifting his feet before our lesson. She lifted it once and said its likely to be a time and repetition thing with him. So we got on with the riding part of the lesson. I tried to show her the issue with the left turn we had been having. But of course once I had a trainer watching, Ezio was perfect.

Over a few repetitions and doing some figure eights, Trainer J identified that he was falling out over his right shoulder and said that was probably a contributor to the broken left turn. She wanted me to ride bent to the right while going right and bent to the right while going left. Not just in the lesson but do that for a while. It was nice to be able to learn this during the lesson as I really got a good handle on the feel of catching his shoulder with my right aids.

My goofball

Trainer J said she thought he was ready for smaller figures and had us start doing some smaller serpentines. He managed to hold himself quite well and she commented that he definitely wouldn’t have been able to make the smaller turns during the previous lesson. I also got a nicely ridden compliment and I was pleased with that.

She wanted to know what else I wanted to work on, maybe canter? I said that if there was something else she though we should work on, I’d rather focus on that since I knew that his balance with the canter would be better with more muscle. So we worked on our transitions again.

Ezio had gotten better than the previous lesson. Not a lot, but enough you could tell. He still wanted to slam down into the halt since putting his butt under him is hard. Trainer J had us practice transitioning to the walk and back up across the long diagonal. We do our lesson in a very large arena and the diagonal is very long. She said that sometimes the long distance helps baby horses move forward since they feel less confined.

We did a lot of transitions and they got better but he also started anticipating so I knew that I would have to be careful when working on this on my own to vary up the place that we are doing the transitions so he is listening and not assuming he knows where to go.

I love having lessons because I get so much to work with on my own time after them. I’m definitely excited to see where we go with more lessons under out belts.

Its difficult for me to tell, but I think he’s gaining some weight and muscle. ❤