Monday, January 21, 2013

We've had some sunny but cold weather the last couple days.  Yesterday we had to make two trips to get hay, so there went half of the day.  The rest of the day we spent visiting, and then I filled troughs and loved on the donkeys a bit.  

Today I had a bunch of other stuff to do, including unloading the second load of hay, but I made sure I had daylight left for a little horseplay.
Scout's first ride of 2013 was pretty much awesome.  We didn't do much.  Rode around the round pen a few times, left the round pen, practiced one-rein stops, backing, and paying attention to my legs.  He needs some work on that last one. 

 What a good baby.

Except guess what?  He's not a baby anymore!  He'll be 5 years old in a couple months.  That is so weird.

My goal for this spring is to work him for 30 days in an elbow-pull to strengthen all the parts of his body that are dumpy and wrong.  :)  I also have goals to do the same for myself.  Thinking about joining the local gym.  If I want to ride Pedro (and I do) I better lose some weight.

I won't start the work with the elbow-pull right away though.  It's too cold to ask him to be athletic, even if it's only at the trot.  And the footing in the round pen sucks.

Then when the floods recede I might try walking and/or riding him to work.  It's only a couple miles away but we need to be able to cross the creek and he needs to be able to handle traffic on the highway.  I can leave him in the corral at work all day.  How cool is that?

I'm really having a hard time deciding whether or not to shoe him this year.  The one time he had shoes on it was awesome, I didn't need to worry at all about rocky terrain.  But I didn't like the way his hooves looked afterward, and he got a killer abscess.  And you all know I'm a big-time barefoot advocate.  His hooves are so soft though.  And boots are a pain in the butt and the traction sucks.  So...  I guess I'll decide later, when we start riding on challenging surfaces.

Now it's time to go work on that fitness goal.  Going to do my yoga/pilates routine now.


Anonymous said...

Sounds very nice for a winter ride - and he looks so handsome!

shadowlake2005 said...

Good going, riding in this cold weather! Had to "google" the elbow-pull, so I read about it on Julie Goodnight's site, it sounds really interesting and like it could be very helpful.

Keechy said...

Wow! Five! I can't believe it! I've been reading your blog since just before he was born!

froglander said...

Why an "elbow-pull"? Seems like it would just teach the horse to carry himself in a "headset" and back off from bit pressure? I dunno, not a big fan of gadgets.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Isn't it crazy how time flies?

The elbow pull does help them carry their head correctly, which Scout desperately needs. When they bring their head down the muscles on the lower side of their neck relax, the top elongates, the belly comes up, and the back stretches out. I watched an old roping horse with serious bitting problems and incorrectly built muscles really relax and change his way of going, and his whole body improved. Scout's weak back and huge pumpkin belly could use that help.

Kara said...

Is Scout actually sore or tender when you ride him out barefoot? Do his hoof walls wear excessively? In the wild he'd have to deal with the feet he has and most of those horses do fine. I dunno, just trying to sort out if he really needs shoes or not. I am a huge fan of barefoot too...could you use a set of boots? I use front boots on Cody all the time (tender) and I have never had slipping or unsure footing due to them. I like easyboot epics.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

He is tender footed on gravel. He probably would wear a lot, but he also grows hoof fast. His soles are super soft though. I think in the wild he'd be fine because he'd be doing it every day and the hooves would acclimate themselves. But if I only ride on gravel for a couple hours a week that's not going to work.

I've used Easyboot Epics but they're a lot of work and I don't like them in steep terrain on slick mud. But then with that kind of terrain even his bare hooves slip and we just have to scramble up.

I'm still torn. A lot of the time I can choose trails that are softer, but I'd like to be able to go wherever I want. I guess I'll decide later.

Kara said...

What if you tried leaving his hoof wall just a little longer than you usually do? That is how my neighbor does his barefoot trims - he leaves the hoofwall longer than I do. His horses seem to do really well on all terrain including gravel (but of course they have black hooves too). I guess I'm just wondering what if you tried using Scout's hoofwall as "shoes" to protect the sole a bit. If they are too long, then they will just chip a little and you'll know that you need to smooth them down and shorten them a bit. I guess it's just an idea...and obviously if he starts to flare, you'll know they are too long.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

I was thinking about that just yesterday. His hooves aren't really prone to chipping, just flaring. They're pretty flexible. But maybe in the dry months I can try leaving a little. Wouldn't hurt to play with it a bit, as long as I don't let it get too out of control.

Kara said...

My only thought with leaving his hoof walls a little longer is that you would want to make sure that his heels don't get too long and end up bringing the back of the hoof forward too far...they could become underrun if they stay too long like that, but I think they'd have opportunity to wear and not get underrun. I think you'd be at more risk of them getting underrun if he wears shoes and has long trimming cycles because he wouldn't be able to wear hoof wall at all then. Also, keep the break-over as far back as you can get to make up for the slightly longer hoof wall. Those are my thoughts, though you probably already know all that.