Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Arrival

Smurf arrived late yesterday afternoon to lovely wind and rain. Not so fun for the horses but great for everything else.

They were running a bit late and Fox was a bit upset that I had pulled him away from his buddies and was running around and calling out. He eventually settled into grazing. It's been a while since he was in a paddock with grass worth eating. After what felt like an eternity, the float finally pulled up. Fox immediately lifted his head and called out to the new strange horse. Then he decided he needed to show off. So with his tail in the air he ran up and down showing everyone how pretty he was.

Smurf unloaded fine and was very curious looking around and smelling all the new things. I had split the paddock in half so they could get to know each other without any fights. Smurf pranced up to the fence line and they had a wee sniff. Fox had a wee squeal and then decided to show off some more. One of the ladies who had come with the owner was like 'that's the horse with the sore leg?' Ha ha put me to shame really. Luckily Smurfs owner could see his weirdness.

Contracts were signed. The owner gave me a hug with tears in her eyes. I told her I felt a bit mean but she said 'this is the best possible outcome for me, I'm really grateful.' I told her I would e-mail her as much as possible. She waved goodbye to her horse and pulled out of the drive.

It was hard to be properly happy as I really did feel for the poor girl. She is leaving the country tomorrow so maybe I can be happy then.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Three Days!!!

Well after my downer post yesterday, I realised that whatever happens, I can handle it. So I'm now ready to be super excited because Smurf arrives in three days. THREE DAYS!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Large parts of New Zealand are currently locked in drought. Unfortunately one of those places is where I live. There is no grass. Anywhere. Some people have been feeding out their winter hay rations for months now. I only started feeding out a month ago but already I'm finding that the quarter of a bale Fox is getting just isn't quite cutting it. And the price of hay has gone up. Only one dollar a bale but it adds up.

Now I'm thinking maybe taking on that second horse wasn't such a good idea. I've figured that with my extra hours I can budget for a bale a day for the both of them, maybe a bit more. Is that enough? Don't know, we'll have to find out I guess. And it all depends on rain. We're supposed to be getting a bit this weekend but likely it will pass us by. If we do get rain, it's still warm enough for some grass growth so fingers tightly crossed.

Luckily we've had a good local hay season but likely by the end of winter, things will be getting tight. And I buy my hay as I need it rather than in bulk so that puts me at a disadvantage. I'm thinking that it may be a good idea to look at buying bulk next year.

I'll also probably add hemp and eezybeet to Fox's feed for the extra boost. Smurf is an easy keeper but if he needs extra then he'll get it too. I can just imagine the look on my partners face! I may end up having to work more than four extra hours a week.

And there is a clause in my lease contract that if for whatever reason, I can't keep Smurf, I can take him back to where he's been boarding. I really hope not to have to do that but I like having it there just in case.

It's only four months till September, only four months till Spring, only four months till new grass. Can I do it? I really hope so.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I did it, I sat on my horse for the first time in I don't even know how long! We only walked a total of about 500 metres but it was nice all the same and I sat on him while he had his grazing time.

This experience highlighted some things very clearly. I am now a fraidy cat! I decided to ride bareback as I wanted to feel what his back was doing. If anything went wrong I wanted to pick up on it straight away and be able to get off without causing further damage. Last time I rode bareback I fell off. So the whole mounting and getting reacquainted process was rather nerve wracking for me. It felt truly horrible to be afraid of something that used to be second nature. I felt really out of place and it took a long time for me to relax properly and enjoy the experience fully. In fact I spent most of the gazing time with a tuft of mane clutched in my hand. I know, pathetic right!

Fox is an angel. As we have swapped out a lot of our walking time for eating time, I was a bit worried that Fox would be a bit feisty. He proved me completely wrong to my great relief. He ambled around the orchard like I had ridden him yesterday. He did have one mini spook when an apple fell off a tree :eyeroll: but that was when he was eating.

He is a very old 14 year old. The number of cricks and cracks coming from his body, mostly from his right hind somewhere was highly alarming. Its not something that you really hear when you are in the paddock with him or handgrazing. But when he is moving and you are right on top of the source of the noise it becomes very clear. I have had to drop his dose of glucosamine as I'm waiting for my new order to arrive. Maybe that has something to do with it. Made me pretty sad anyway.

I need a bareback pad. Even though I was only sitting on Fox for maybe 15 minutes, it was rather uncomfortable for me and if it was for me, then I imagine is was for him too. I have rather bony sit bones and I was very conscious of how they must be digging. A bareback pad will give us both a bit of padding without losing any feel.

But despite the negatives of this first ride, it really did make my day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bad bad blogger

It seems my blogging has been getting a bit inconsistent! I've just not been feeling very inspired I guess. All my writing attention is still on assignments. I've decided to aim to get my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology so I need to make sure my grades are top.

Winter is definitely on its way, Fox is starting to puff up now. Since he is going to be mostly out of work I had decided to not cover him this year. However with the lack of grass, he's just not getting enough food to keep him warm enough. So he'll be covered and fed as much hay as I can afford.

He had ANOTHER accident on Tuesday. Not too serious this time but still enough to leave me a bit shaky. He's got a few cuts and numerous hairless patches after an encounter with his fence. I'm not exactly sure what happened but the bottom wire was completely broken and there were patches of hair on the wooden post. Apparently he had been running his fence line a bit and it was rainy and very windy. So whether he slid into it or got a foot caught I don't know. All I know is I think he was very very lucky not to be more damaged.

We've been doing lots of work with clicker training. Standing still while grooming, head away, foot up and the coolest, I think walk and whoa. He is very in tune with his food!! He stops and starts on a dime.

We also did our first session over poles. I haven't got Fox targeting and moving yet so it was in a traditional lunge fashion. Fox was most unimpressed. Mainly I think because there was so much grass in the arena and all the poor guy wanted to do was stuff his face and I was making him work! He coped ok once I had got my spacing right. We started off with five flat poles, both directions at a walk. Not too much circling more on a straight line as I don't want to put any pressure on. I then put one side of the last pole up so he really had to work.

So apart from as much time handgrazing in the orchard as I can give him, that's pretty much all we're doing. He's looking really good though and I'm thinking that he'll be ready for very light riding very soon. Maybe once or twice a week for ten or so minutes. We'll see how it goes.

In the meantime I will have Smurf to keep me busy riding wise. He's arriving on the 28th and I'm really really looking forward to it. It's been so long since I've been on a horse.