Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mares in heat

Well, it's getting to be that time, and many of the mares at the barn are in heat right now. It means that there is a lot of ear-pinning and conversation going on, and it also means that Panama is even more interested than usual in all the girls.

By Thursday morning, by hand was no longer sensitive to friction (remember, I burned it with boiling water Tuesday morning), so I went out to the barn to ride. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea at the same time. Mozart, the new gelding in Panama's corral, and Zans were both being ridden in the indoor at the same time as Panama and I, since the outdoor arena was still too mucky from our last snowstorm.

Panama was doing pretty well with it, but that fell apart when Lady's owner brought her in, too. Lady's owner commented that she was uncharacteristically "up," and although it didn't occur to me at the time, I'll bet she was in heat like all the rest of the mares at the barn. In any case, Panama was very distracted with Lady around, wanting to speed up when her rider cantered her by us, and was so interested in getting to where she was all the time that I could practically feel all of his energy leaning in her direction.

Yesterday we also had a busy arena. Three young girls were having a group riding lesson, complete with a low crossrail set up toward one end of the arena. Add two other horses and riders, and two instructors (one of them mine), and me and Panama, and you have quite the crowd!

In retrospect, I think at least two of the mares in that crowded arena were in heat, because there was a lot of ear-pinning and whinnying going on. Every time one of the mares would whinny, Panama's head would shoot up and his ears would shoot forward. He did get used to it after a little bit, but in the beginning I could tell his mare radar was on overload.

Riding in a crowded arena was good for us, both days. I found that maneuvering around other riders kept me looking up and kept me from getting too bored, as there was always something new to focus on. On Friday we even walked over the low crossrails a couple of times, and then I asked my trainer to get on and jump Panama over them a few times just for fun — I wanted him to get some jumping practice, but since I don't really know how to jump I didn't think I was the best person to do it.

Today the arena was pretty busy again, but I decided not to ride — it was cold, and I really didn't have time anyway. Besides, Panama and Mozart got their new pasturemate today — a mare named Daisy, who was moved outside from the indoor barn because she wasn't handling the box stall very well. Panama followed her around, nose to tail, for her first twenty minutes in the corral; she squealed at him periodically, and kicked out a couple of times, but I think his interest in her has already won her over.

My gelding and the mare who just became his newest girlfriend

Now Panama has three girlfriends: his live-in girlfriend (Daisy), his mistress (Lady), and his long-distance girlfriend (Flash).



At March 28, 2010 at 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daisy looks very sweet - hope that works out well. It's good that he's getting to experience lots of distractions - great learning opportunities!

At March 28, 2010 at 10:17 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

What a Player that Panama is.

At March 30, 2010 at 8:56 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Kate, I totally agree -- great learning opportunities, for both of us! He is actually doing very well with it, probably better than I am, actually!

NM, he IS a player. Today he got to go on a ride with his third-best girl, not to mention sniffed her butt and made faces when he got a whiff of her pee, yet he still blithely greeted Daisy when he got back to the corral! (She squealed at him, so I have a feeling she witnessed his transgressions -- LOL)


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