Thursday, May 28, 2009

Never a Dull Moment

Yesterday I had an interesting trip to the barn. We'd had rain so it was a little muddy, but Steen came to the gate to meet me when I went down to the pasture and we went inside.

While I groomed him, I was really pleased with how he looked. His spine is finally a canyon along his back instead of a ridge. He's not fat, but he seems to fill out visibly between each of my visits to the barn, mostly growing muscle. I don't know if he's just had a lot of catching up to do in the last year and he's finally reached "healthy," or if he did have a parasite all along and the barn-wide aggressive worming program finally got that under control. Whatever the reason, though, he looks good, which makes me feel good.

I decided I've been a bit lax about my groundwork lately and should get back in the habit of doing it, so when I finished saddled up we went to the indoor arena and started off with basic stuff we've done a million times. And Steen kind of freaked out. Although he'd been totally calm all through the grooming/tacking process, he just got super agitated - popping up with his front legs, tossing his head, squealing. I couldn't figure out if it was just high spirits or something wrong. So, I took his saddle off, thinking something might be rubbing him. No change. Then I thought it might the halter, since the bottom portion of his nose is light-skinned and a little sun-burned. So, I took the halter off too and he ran off and rolled a few times. Then he came back to me, and seemed more relaxed.

So, after that we did some ground work with the stick only, and this went quite well. He stayed right with me, turning both to the inside and outside at my shoulder, circling me when asked, disengaging and coming back to me on cue, just like he would if on the rope. I just went with it for a while. Sometimes when I asked him to trot he'd run around and toss his head and get distracted for a moment or two, but he'd always come back before long.

We did that for a while, and his behavior normalized. I put his halter back on and went through more groundwork without antics on his part. I put his saddle on and mounted, and he behaved really well. Better than my last indoor ride, even - except he was really not interested in staying on the rail when we were going counter-clockwise. Clockwise, he was a doll.

So, who knows? Either he was just full of energy, there was something bugging him that rolling took care of, or some combination of both. Anyway, at least we managed to work through the problem and have a nice ride anyway.


  1. Maybe he just really, really wanted to roll in the nice arena dirt. My guys really like to roll in the sandy arena dirt, and get rather upset if I try to ride without giving them a chance to roll and run around first.

    He definitely is looking better. How often do you guys usually worm there? We do every other month here...which seems like a lot to me, but it's the barn rules.

  2. Yeah, he does definitely loves to roll in the indoor arena, but I always let him roll after the ride, and he's never before had trouble waiting...

    Right now our barn owner has the whole barn worming every 6 weeks. Back in AZ we did it every 8-10, but there have been a lot of thin horses at the barn this last year, and from what I hear horses in herds can pass parasites around quite easily. In general, I prefer to under-medicate than over-medicate, but between the wet environment and the other horses, the increased frequency might be necessary.


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