Friday, May 16, 2014

Signs of summer

Less than a week after Mother Nature dumped probably six inches of snow on us (in the Denver area -- the mountains got considerably more), the barn looked like this:

And this weekend it's supposed to get up into the low 80s again.  I think it might be a good time to bathe a couple of very dirty horses...

Everything was already getting quite green before our May snowstorm, but with all of the moisture, it's even greener now.  The horses are, of course, very happy about the return of the grass.  It's hard to keep them focused on whatever we're doing any time there is grass anywhere in the vicinity.  When you lead them out of the corral, they're trying to make a break for it while you're chaining the gate; when you lead them to the arena, they veer first one way and then the other, because there is grass on either side of the driveway; and if you dare to ride them through the grass, look out!  You'll have a wrestling match on your hands to keep their heads up.

For the first few minutes, at least.  Panama certainly knows better, and Rondo is learning, so you usually just have to reestablish the rules and then they stop trying, except for the occasional sneaky attempt when they think they might just get away with it.

V. had a lesson on Rondo -- and he continues to be very good and reasonably more forward since his chiro.  I wasn't feeling like riding, but I got Panama out anyway to groom and give him some attention, and see how I felt once that was done.  He had been so hyper on Saturday, partly from the incoming storm but I think also partly from lack of attention, that I didn't want to neglect him if I was there anyway.

He seemed to appreciate it.

He was filthy, of course, so grooming took a while.  By the time I finished, V.'s lesson was nearly over.  I had decided to ride, though, so I just threw a bareback pad on him and took my chances.  Luckily for me, he was forward but not out of control.  (If he were hyper like Saturday, I'd have a lot less stability and control, but luckily he either wasn't as hyper or he was just taking care of me, which he has always been better about when I am bareback.)

V.'s lesson was soon over, but it was too nice of an evening to call it so early, so the two of us rode together in the obstacle course that is set up in the field behind the outdoor arena.  (Again, this was very trusting of me, to ride Panama bareback where he is more likely to spook -- I've done it before, but I had not really been on long enough to know whether he would be better behaved than he was last Saturday.)  Rondo of course is totally unconcerned about any of the obstacles, or even the baby bunny that ran out right in front of him.  (I was glad that didn't happen with Panama.  I could see the silly bunny flattening itself out in the grass after that, but I gave it enough space that it didn't bolt again, as I didn't want to tempt fate too much.)

Panama was actually pretty good too, though.  We walked over logs, walked through the puddle a bunch of times (a shallow puddle with a concrete bottom, for training horses to walk through water), and over the practice bridge.  He was really good with all of it, even the puddle, where he usually wants to skirt around the edges.  The only thing he wouldn't do is step in the tire (Rondo does that without flinching), but usually it takes cones to block him from going to either side before he will do that -- so I got him to step on the edges (it's just the sidewall of a tire, not a whole one) and walk by without shying to either side, and called that good.

Afterward, V. fed Rondo his "bonus meal," as I call it -- Rondo is now on beet pulp and alfalfa pellets, much like Panama was last year, for weight gain -- while I let Panama graze.  He was quite happy about that.

It was a beautiful spring evening at the barn!  I can't wait for summer and long evenings at the barn.  I'm planning on spending a lot more time at the barn this year.



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