Friends, Mats, and Shoes


My friend Holly, owner of Uno, came to ride the weekend following L’s ride. She recently got a truck and I shamelessly begged her to help me go buy mats. Ezio has dug a hole where his grain bucket is and a trench in front of his automatic waterer. We got together early and were at the store at opening buying mats. I definitely spent a fair amount of money buying 9.

We put off installing the mats until after the ride. I had Holly stuff carrots in Ezio’s mouth again as I felt like I’d seen some improvement over the last week. He definitely had no complaints about that. I warmed him up. Warmup went longer than I had expected. He was still feeling some feelings about short reins and we had two horses riding with us in the big arena. Despite that, he eventually settled down and Holly hopped on.

She’s restarted ottbs before so she knows how to ride babies. He was pretty good for her. Still up in his feelings but he wasn’t that bad. She commented that he had some similar issues she’d experienced with Ezio. She also said his canter was floaty, which felt pretty cool. She ended up staying on him for a while which meant he was ridden for an hour. It’s longer than I normally ride but once in a while won’t hurt him.

As we headed back to the crossties, we noticed he’d thrown a shoe. The same shoe. The right front shoe.

Given how long his feet were and the fact that we were six weeks into his cycle, I decided to just ask the farrier to redo him completely. I hadn’t gotten drugs yet from my vet as I thought I’d have more time. I discussed with the farrier and he said we can give it a shot and see how he does without the drugs.

The farrier comes by every Thursday to Ezio’s barn so we waited until then. That meant turnout for most of a week. I took advantage of those days to practice standing in the farrier crossties and picking up his feet. He actually did quite well there. I was able to pick up his front feet multiple times and hold onto them for up to 30 seconds. It doesn’t sound like much but that’s a lot of improvement for him.

Thursday rolled around and the farrier came by. Since my last farrier straight up ghosted me, I also had this farrier, N, out for Scarlet as well. Scarlet was actually at something like 10 weeks and desperately needed to be done. He was a bit anxious in the covered crossties but was his normal good self and fairly well balanced. N said next time he can do him in his stall if it would make him feel better.

We headed right up to Ezio after that. He was not terrible but not great. He definitely kept pulling his feet out of the farrier’s hands but he hardly tried to run away. The struggle was still centered on his front feet. N said he wasn’t that bad and since he’s four, he should only get better with more practice. He didn’t feel like we need to drug him in the future. So I’m hopeful that he will eventually be a good horse for the farrier.

I took the day off of work so I took advantage of the time I had to longe him in the round pen. I put him on the line and focused on making him move out to take advantage of the whole circle. I definitely had to work a lot to do that. You’d think going out to the wider circle and that it is easier would be enough incentive but no. The right was much more difficult that the left so I need to do this more with him. It will be a good practice for balancing on his own.

Stupid whip. Making me work hard.


Lesson recap from 7/8

I was on and walking around just before my lesson time so I was halfway around the arena before I noticed Ezio’s ear flick toward the gate. I looked and sure enough Trainer J was hopping up on the rail. I may be annoyed with his obsession with noticing things outside the arena but there is a silver lining there.

After getting the radio from her, we continued with our warmup. I got him settled in at the trot with serpentines and then went into spirals. I started with the right, which is his bad direction. That was my mistake. He just sped up when I tried to ask him to move out. I switched directions to see if the left would be any better. Same deal.

Trainer J had me trot the spiral into the smaller circle and then after a step sideways out at the trot, I was to transition to the walk so he couldn’t just run through the lateral work.


He had some MAJOR feelings about walking with my reins shortened. He kept trying so hard to break into the trot every three steps. He was throwing fits about having to walk. It was HARD. I definitely contributed to this because I have definitely kept my reins longer for the walk and gathered them for faster work.

We kept to the circle and any time he broke from the walk, we halted and then walked on. Once I got a few steps of walk, I was dropping the reins and then picking them back up. Then I would throw a trot transition in there and then walk some more. We eventually went out to do some serpentines with this as we didn’t want to make him feel like he was super stuck.

His only feeling about this treat was yum!

We spent pretty much the whole lesson working on that. It was a good thing to have as lesson rather than to discover on my own as being in a lesson tends to keep me calmer as I’ve got another brain in the mix. I was pretty pleased to find thing honestly. I love having issues to fix that have very obvious exercises I can work on. When I’m in lessons, I’m super happy to have homework to work on between lessons. And this one is a very easy thing to incorporate in all moments of my ride. I just have to watch out for the feelings!

Scarlet Update

I’ve been so focused on Ezio and improving our partnership that I’ve neglected to write about Scarlet much. Our routine hasn’t changed all that much. We’re still walking 10-20 minutes a day depending on the day. He’s still doing well in that fashion.

But near the end of June, he started to leave behind a lot of his bermuda. He seemed to be eating his alfalfa fine as well as his grain. I assumed that it was just due to how warm it had suddenly gotten. We’d had a good summer so far of mostly temperate weather. Low 80s for the most part. Then we had a week of high 80s-90s heat with a serious amount of humidity. We had a cool spell coming in at the end of the month so I figured I’d wait to see if that helped his eating.

Unfortunately, it did not. In fact, he seemed to just not be eating his bermuda entirely. He also, to my eyes, lost quite a bit of weight. I obviously panicked when I realized this was a serious problem. But he was still eating his alfalfa and grain. I debated for a while but then decided to call my vet. He got his teeth done in Nov and he is 25. So it might be time for him to be looked at every 6 months. She’s been quite busy lately and I believe her assistant left so we haven’t decided if that’s what we will do.

In the meantime, I got a couple of bags of bermuda pellets. I figured it wasn’t fully a problem of physically eating. Maybe its the form factor of hay versus pellets. I’ve been feeding him about three pounds or so a day of pellets and he seems to be eating those well. I also spoke to the BO and changed his feed to be a flake of alfalfa morning and night and only one flake of Bermuda the whole day. He’s still leaving parts of that flake behind but he’s usually eating 50-75%. He hasn’t lost any more weight but I’m not sure if he’s gained it back or not. Weight gain can be hard for an older horse so I’m trying to not worry in that aspect.

His behavior is still quite normal. He walks fine. He rolls when I turn him out. He even decided to be a snorty Arab when we walked by one of my barnmates getting into the trailer. He curved his neck and snort pranced the whole length of the barn, about five minutes worth. I turned him out after and it took him a whole five minutes of prancing around and snorting before he chilled. And then he rolled and cantered back across the arena to me. So despite his eating changing, he is still in good spirits. For now, I’m just supplementing his feeding and I’ll keep an eye on him with the help of my vet.

Lesson, L and Fun

Wrap up of 7/1-7/7!

I finally had a lesson happen on July 1st. No shoes were lost beforehand. Trainer J thought we had improved quite a lot since the last time she had seen him. She’s excited to be able to ride him soon. I’m heading on a work trip for a week at the end of the month so I’m paying her to make sure that he stays active while I’m gone.

We tried spirals for the first time today. We started at the trot and he was better to the left than to the right. She suggested I don’t do them more than three times each way so I’m not drilling him. She also suggested we maybe try a french link on him as he will occasionally snap his head up like he’s upset.

After that, we tried to work on the canter transition. I’ve been getting run off with instead of getting reasonably prompt transitions. Since he anticipates, Trainer J said to use that to our advantage and transition upward at a specific point on a circle each time so that the transition is prompt of his own volition. She explained that we need to break the canter down even further for him where he first step is a prompt transition, then the correct lead, then keeping going, then balanced. It was a good thing to be reminded about in regards to his abilities. He’s so easy under saddle that I sometimes find myself expecting more than he can reasonably offer as a four year old.

The ride after we practiced all of that again but we didn’t have as good of a ride. His attention kept being distracted so he was stiff and not listening to me. A new day, a different baby horse. I wasn’t too upset.

L came out to ride on the morning of the 4th. It’s the first time I’ve had any of my friends out to meet Ezio so I was excited and a little nervous. I just hoped he would be a good boy for our friend. L helped with grooming by shoving carrot pieces into his mouth while I was cleaning his front feet. I wanted to do that to try to get him to associate me holding his feet with a good thing.

After grooming, we headed toward the back arena since someone was turned out in the front one. We started with me riding and trying a nathe bit that L had to experiment with. He gave the poles a side eye but was pretty good otherwise. When I tried to canter with the nathe, he put his head down and bucked. L took video and it didn’t look like anything in the video, which I find hilarious. But he definitely wasn’t well behaved with that so I hopped off and L did a lightning fast switch to my normal bit. I got back on and cantered just to make sure he was being good.

Then L got on. She put him through his paces. He was so confused at first when she was trying to get him to march around at the walk but he eventually got the right answer. I was filming while L was riding and Ezio decided that he wanted to be closer to me. As in, he tried to run me over. I had to dodge out of the way while he just straight up ignored L. After that, he was much better for her. It was fun to watch someone else ride my horse.

The next ride of that week was unfortunately frustrating. We ended up riding with another person in the large arena. But she was a very selfish and unobservant rider. She took the inside oval and stuck to it regardless. Mostly not an issue, I can avoid her. But then I tried to take a circle at the end of the arena to practice cantering and she would either ride right through my circle or ride up against the edge. I had to keep choking up on Ezio to avoid her. I was so frustrated and he was frustrated by the end. I should have spoken up and told her to stay on her own freaking side of the arena. But I didn’t. I will do so next time.

Here are the videos of me riding that L took if you’re interested!

Back in the Saddle, Literally

Gosh. I get all caught up with my blog posts and then I fall behind again! I’m going to do my best to get everything caught up asap. I’m going to be doing these catchups in week chunks. This one goes from June 24-30th.

It felt so good to be able to ride again. I did longe him before the ride but he wasn’t all that wild so it was not for very long. He was a good boy for the ride but boy did it feel a bit weird after being off for two weeks. For the first five minutes of the ride, everything felt off. His neck sat funny on his shoulders, my hands were weird, the saddle was weird. I just felt all discombobulated.

The rest of the week we had to ride in the back arena. They were doing some telephone pole replacements which meant jackhammering into our extremely hard ground out here. Unfortunately, there were several poles on and near the barn. Ezio’s barn is basically right on the road. And Ezio’s stall is the closest to the road and one of the poles they were replacing. Poor guy.


He did pretty good overall. A little more scooty in his stall than previously but he did great while riding. He spooked once at one of the equipment trucks driving past but it was minor compared to what I was used to with Scarlet.

There was one cool thing I found out by being in the back arena. I had initially been making sure we cantered around the whole large front arena as I was worried anything smaller would make it hard for Ezio. But the back arena is much smaller and Ezio cantered much better. It felt more balanced and there was no swapping behind. So he needs something less large in order to not get strung out. Probably not a revelation to people who are used to working with baby horses but it was for me.