Friday, May 28, 2010

Oh The Drama

Still raining, we also have snow on the hills and it is bloody freezing!

Went to check on the boys last night, purely with the intention of covering Smurf and chucking them their daily allocation of hay, that is all as I said it is bloody wet and freezing.

We pulled up to the paddocks and what did I see, a little grey horse, not where the little grey horse is supposed to be. Oh crap! Instead of being on the hill, he was in the paddock below Fox's. His paddock gate was still closed and the gate of the paddock he was in was open. So he hadn't been moved by a person. Oh crap!

Still from a distance, I analysed his movement, looked for patches of red. Nothing. My heart was racing as I ran up the laneway that felt a million miles long. Smurf stayed on the far side of the paddock, not letting me get a closer look. Then I saw the state of the fence of his proper paddock. It had totally been destroyed, there was wire everywhere. Oh crap! There is no way he managed to get through that unhurt. On top of that, in between that fence line and the laneway and other paddocks is a ditch. The wire had been dragged completely across the ditch. What the hell had happened!

Smurf let me get a bit closer but he was very skitterish, I eyeballed him all over. Nothing. What the hell? I waited till he had calmed a bit and ran my hands all over him. Nothing. What the hell? How on earth he got through that unscathed, I will never know! He was jumpy about me covering him, not too sure about anything. I threw him some hay and breathed a huge sigh of relief as he settled in to eat.

I'm going to give him another thorough going over again tonight in case I missed anything. I have no idea what made him do it, did he get a fright that made him go through the fence or was he being a monkey and trying to get through the fence and gave himself a fright in the process. I guess we will never know. I am just supremely grateful that he wasn't badly injured.

Land owner is NOT happy. But then, I did tell her that section of fence was unelectrified and that I would like it on.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Horsie Wishlist

Still raining.........

Here is my current wishlist of horse related things

Leather bitless bridle for Fox - his current one is crappy looking synthetic and a crossunder style that I find doesn't give a good enough release

Chiropractor for Fox - Another opinion on his issues

Saddle for Fox - Since his old one doesn't fit anymore, going to be a loooong time coming though!

Girth for Smurf - Fox's is too big, it needs to be at the top hole on both sides to be tight enough

Breastplate for Smurf - Saddle slips back, planning on getting some cheap second hand gear though not new stuff

Rasp and hoof knife now I'm getting my head round trimming a bit more.

Gloves 3x - one for poo picking, one for trimming, one for riding

Bareback pad - cause the saddle's going to be a long time coming

Proper equine first aid kit

Thats all for now, I'm sure there's something I've left out though LOL.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rain, Rain and More Rain

What gives Weather Gods?! Drought, now rain, rain and more rain. Makes life difficult I tell you!!

Took Smurf and Fox out on Saturday when we had a bit of a break in the weather with a friend of mine. Didn't go too far but did a bit of exploring of some tracks I'd always been curious about. Unfortunately they were all dead ends. Well dead ends if you're on horse back anyway. Was really great to be getting out again. Fox was keen, ears pricked and striding out well. No sign of discomfort from his back until I went downhill. I jumped off quick smart as soon as I knew what he was telling me. He seemed fine without me though. Obviously me + bareback + downhill = not very comfy so get the hell off!

I'm going to stop riding him again, as much as I want to, I do think if I can strengthen his back first it will make things a whole lot better in the long run.

There is a method of training called Kukkuli, which is in short:

"The Kikkuli Text, a horse training text dating back to 1345 BC, caused the Hittites to become a powerful Empire whose warhorses surpassed all others. Hittite horses had to march hard for 4 weeks then gallop all day in battle. . . . . In 1991 I (the Author) replicated the Kikkuli Text regime with 10 arabian horses, and this became known as the Kikkuli Experiment. The training programme set down by Kikkuli lasts for 7 months and in the Kikkuli Experiment the training regime and feeding programme were followed precisely. The methods used in the Kikkuli Text enable modern horses to be trained without injury. One of Kikkuli's techniques was to use long periods leading the horses in their work rather than riding them. The use of long periods of leading in the first half of training strengthens horses without straining them."

The Kikkuli Method:

- makes much use of leading the horses at the gaits of trot, canter and gallop before subjecting them to the weight bearing and psychological stress of a rider or driver.
- uses interval training. At no time is the horse brought to the point of fatigue, thus reducing the risk of injury.
-allows the trainer to pinpoint the precise moment in training at which the horse has adapted physically and mentally to its training.

The Kukkuli Experiment can be bought as a book and sounds fascinating but *sigh* books are sadly not in the budget at the moment.

BUT, I think these basic principles are worth exploring with Fox. I mean, I have the two horses and I think the outcome can only be positive.

So this means a new rehab programme.

3x a week ponying from Smurf, 1 hill day, 1 longer day and one day where I will be introducing short trots to get the transitions.

5x a week pole work, 3 short days on the days that he gets ponied and 2 more intensive sessions

As many times as I can manage, massage and stretches.

It's a bit of a compromise, but I really think it'll work.

Just have to fit it around the weather!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Well I've been given the go ahead to move the boys to a different paddock, only problem is its on a slope and apparently that's not going to be good for Fox's back. I'm wondering if this may have contributed to his long recovery time as his previous paddock was also a slope and he would always do little slips.

I'm looking forward to there being some more grass for them, current paddock is getting very sparse! I'm also looking forward to having electric fencing again, YAY. Smurf is a nightmare with fences. It makes me very frustrated and honestly quite worried, he leans on them, goes through them, under them. Last night I found one of the fence poles has become wobbly, both horses are intact though so not sure what happened there.

I'm going to try and sweet talk the owner into letting me put Fox into the only flat paddock left. Fingers crossed that goes ok. Which means they will have separate paddocks which is both good and bad. It'll be nice to be able to feed them separately and Fox won't get chased anymore but on the downside, they are both used to being in with other horses. Fox tends to pace a bit when he's by himself. They'll still be able to see each other though and another horse is moving back soon too, so there'll be three of them. Which is really useful when I want to take just one out. Not sure how Smurf will go on his own, I hope he doesn't cause too much mischief!

I've got a few more exercises to try on Fox, and really need to start poles again. I may just lead him over them instead of lunge him, we'll play that one by ear I think! I've really got to start riding again, or riding Smurf and ponying Fox, it's been a while. But I've got exams coming up and I guess they are the first priority.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Too Many Horses

Who knew that I would think two horses was too many. Not me that's for sure. I thought I would love having two horses to brush and love and ride. Well I don't.

It's not the cost, Smurf is a very cheap horse to run, if only Fox was that cheap then I would be having far less arguments with my boyfriend LOL. It's not the maintenance work, it only takes me 5 or so minutes more a day to do the feeding and mucking out. It's just the whole dynamic of the thing. I don't like dividing my attention, I don't like how Smurf chases Fox which means he's got a sore back again and some nice bite marks, I don't like feeling guilty about leaving one behind, I miss the one on one time I used to have.

So if I could give Smurf back tomorrow, I would. Very surprising. I am strictly a one horse woman LOL. Maybe if it was summer I might feel different or he was my only horse *sigh*. I thought about finding him a rider but that's not what his owner signed up for and I don't want anyone else working with Fox not that he's in a fit state for anyone else. I'm very torn, I want to give Smurf the best home possible while his owner is away but at the same I don't really want him there at all. And I don't feel I can give him back. I haven't even had him for a month yet which means five more to go. I'm hoping the owner calls for him sooner rather than later.

I've started a routine of massage and stretches with Fox again. I want to get that wee bit of soreness out of his back before I hop on again. If anyone knows any good exercises to strengthen where a horses back meets his butt let me know. That seems to be Fox's weak spot. I'm going to start going up the hill again with him, they were doing some logging up there so I had stopped but that all seems to be finished now. And poles which he really hates on a lunge so as soon as I can get him feeling fine I'll ride him over the poles.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I've always thought that Smurf was the horse that got away, that he was my horsie soul mate. Which is why I went into such a mad panic when I saw he was for sale. But having him with me for the past few weeks has opened my eyes.

I prefer Fox. I would much rather be out riding with Fox. I want to give Fox more scratches and give him more treats. This was so surprising for me. It's also been a huge relief. I thought that once I had Smurf, I would never want to give him up again and that I would have to really make time to be with Fox. But now, I'm more than happy to be his caretaker until his owner sends for him. I enjoy having him, cheeky monkey that he is, and enjoy our rides but most of the time I'm wishing it was Fox.

I'm riding Fox 2-3 times a week and Smurf the same. If I can get someone to come with me like I managed to last night then it benefits us all. It's going to be an interesting few months juggling both of them. Fox obviously still isn't capable of much though we are going out for longer now and have added a few wee trots. He's feeling good, keen to be getting out more even if it's only to munch some grass. But if I want to go for a blast or a long ride, I take Smurf.

I'm actually looking forward to the six months being up which is so strange. I'll probably be sad to see him go but at the same time it'll be good to devote my attention all to Fox again.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Good Times

Ok, so having two horses isn't as easy as I thought. The maintenance work isn't the problem, it's my feelings of wanting to make sure they both get the work and attention they deserve. It's tricky especially with daylight savings over. At the moment it gets light at just before 7 and is dark by 6. On the days that I work, it means not much except for feeding and mucking out and a quick groom or massage. That's ok, I'm sure they don't mind that. But I'm loving riding and I love riding them both. So I think I'm going to have to work out some kind of schedule that I feel happy with. And also rope friends into coming for rides with me.

I've been riding pretty regularly for about two weeks now and bareback is feeling pretty good now. I'm not scared anymore which is a huge relief, I like having that old confidence back! Smurf is a whole lot easier to ride bareback, his back is nice and flat with no bony bits. He's also a lot closer to the ground so even if I do fall off its more of just a slide and land on your feet. Hee hee, I did that on my first ride. So embarrassing, I tried a wee trot and totally wasn't prepared for the different way Smurf moves and just slid right off. Luckily he is nice and easy to get back on to.

I tried my saddle on Smurf and oh joy it fits! Much better than it fits Fox actually. So still wanting a bareback pad as I don't want to use that saddle on Fox anymore.

I've had three rides on Smurf so far, two just quick bareback rides but yesterday I went with one of the other grazers on a sweet two hour ride. The day was absolutely stunning and Smurf was looking at everything in a really curious way but he was perfect. He also has an amazing ground covering trot that took a while to get used to. I'm going to try and do a CTR very soon possibly even this months one.

I've also ridden Fox a few times. He is feeling really good. Even though his legs still look funny, you can't feel anything different about his gait when you are riding him. And at the moment he's just stoked to be getting out and about again. Well now that he has actual grass in his paddock.

The other thing I've noticed is how different their personalities are. Fox has always been a very aloof horse. He's not too bothered if he doesn't get hugs or pats as long as he's getting his food and getting out and about. Smurf on the other hand is constantly watching, constantly interacting. He's also a very cheeky wee monkey. He'll ping the fence with his nose while waiting for dinner and figured out how to get under the middle tape in a bout two seconds.

So feeling really good right now!