Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A trim and a blow dry

My horse wearing his plaid wickster

Despite my big talk yesterday about how I need to get out to the barn and ride Panama more often, I didn't go yesterday — I gave up my trip in favor of getting some work done before we went to the in-laws' house for the evening.  I am glad I did, because I really did need to get that work done, but I still regretted not getting out to the barn.

Anyway, this morning I woke to the sound of rain on the roof.  I love that sound, except when I know it's also cold and my horse doesn't have his rain sheet on!  I had a farrier appointment scheduled at 10am, but I headed out to the barn early, figuring Panama would be wet and shivering.

And he was.  I put him in the cross ties (covered, thank heavens), toweled him off, and put his cooler on him.  Of course, he was tense from shivering, so everything was ten times as scary as usual, and he hadn't seen the cooler since last spring.  He did pretty well with it, but he humped his back up like a camel's when I put it on.

Then I brought out the hair dryer.  Oh boy.  He hadn't seen that since last winter, either!  Again, he did pretty well, other than doing his camel impression again (he's ticklish).  By the time I got him nearly dry, the farrier had arrived.

Panama was still jumpy and jittery during his trim, so when the farrier was done, I took him into the indoor arena to lunge him.  I was thinking about riding, but I wanted to see first what kind of ride I'd be getting!  First, though, I let him roll.  We aren't supposed to let the horses loose in the indoor arena, but Panama isn't accustomed to rolling on a line, so he pawed the sand a little and then walked up to me and stuck his nose in my chest.  Perfectly obvious what he was asking!  So I broke the rules a little and unclipped the lunge line.  He promptly rolled, and then very obligingly came back to have the line clipped onto his halter again.

Lunging went well.  He was definitely hyper at first, and even bucked once on the lunge line, tentatively — I laughed but didn't otherwise encourage that behavior, because I rather like it that he differentiates between work-running and play-running.  He settled down in a reasonable time frame, though, and I started thinking I would still ride.

But before I took him back to the cross ties to tack up, I noticed some blood on one front fetlock.  I'd actually noticed it before the farrier arrived, but it looked like more blood this time, so I decided to take him into the wash rack to clean it out and make sure it wasn't anything that needed my attention.

Easier said than done.  We haven't gone in and out of the wash rack regularly since last winter, and Panama wasn't having any of it.  It took probably half an hour just to get him all the way into the wash rack, and then he flipped out as soon as I hooked him up to the cross ties — I'm so glad he's not quite big enough or strong enough to easily rip a cross tie out of the wall, because he tried — twice.  Once he relaxed a little, I hosed off the fetlock, making sure the water wasn't too cold (to clean the blood a little more easily, and because I didn't want to cause another meltdown — Panama hates cold water).

Naturally, it was just a little scrape — he probably just slipped in the mud in his corral.  Of course, now that he'd had his meltdown in the cross ties, I couldn't just take him out of the wash rack without working on walking in and out some more.  It probably took another half an hour, but I didn't quit for the day until I got him to the point where he was following me in, turning around, and following me out (rather than stepping in and backing out in a panic).  He was still nervous, but he did it without hesitation, so I called it a day.

I'm disappointed I didn't get to ride, but I guess I gave him enough exercise (lunging) and mental stimulation (the wash rack) that the day probably wasn't a total waste.  I know that when you work with horses, you have to be willing to scrap your plans sometimes and work on what comes up — and I think I'm pretty good about doing so when I need to.  But that doesn't mean I don't feel disappointed for being unable to do what I wanted to do!

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