Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trims and Fidgets

Today we had our annual Christmas/Farrier potluck at the barn.  Brian and I baked scones and arrived a bit on the late side. Steen was really excited to see me, pacing along the fence-line as we approached. Bear was less proactive about being caught, but came with amiably enough once once Brian had the halter on. We went inside and groomed them. They were both just a tad on the mobile side. Bear has gotten very used to having a snack when he's brought indoors, and he knows the general vicinity in which the snack is kept. The result was a sort of constant creeping in the general direction of the chopped hay, but Brian kept correcting him and eventually he mostly cooled it.

Steen was ok. I didn't have anything to tie him to, which never helps his mobility, but he was mostly willing to chill out. He was great for the farrier, as usual, but the little split has reappeared in his right front hoof, right where the hoof meets the frog in the back. Duke said to try to get Koppertox in that crack as often as possible.

Bear is stiff in the hind end with the cold and everything, but Brian stretched his legs a bit before his turn and he did his best which amounted to merely pulling each hind leg away once. We wormed them both and turned them back out. I really don't think we're going to have to blanket Bear. He's got a nice, short, dense fuzzy coat and shows no signs of poor health. Really he needs exercise more than anything. Hopefully after the holidays both Brian and I can get back on a regular riding schedule.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cold and Wet

Today it rained for most of the morning and then the rain shifted to snow. Temps started to fall just after noon and tonight the lows are supposed to be in the teens. Although Bear has actually manged to put on weight as the weather has gotten colder (he's apparently the definition of an easy-keeper), we were a bit worried that the wet to freezing transition would be miserable for him. So, Brian and I piled in the car with a few dry towels and headed out to the barn, driving slowly on slushy, snowy roads.

We found the herd wet but otherwise fine. Steen came over to the gate immediately. Bear did too after a moment, but then got deterred by a puddle and went to stand by the wind-block instead. As usual, the bad weather had everyone a bit stirred up but we got the boys inside without any trouble. Steen's blanket was wet and filthy and crusted over with ice but I peeled it off to reveal that he's actually getting fatter too! Unbelievable. He was also totally dry and totally clean. Definite blanket perk, that.

Brian got to work on toweling off Bear while I groomed Steen and they both got a snack, and then we all did some groundwork. Steen was definitely antsy, but the groundwork soothed him a bit. Someone had put a mini makeshift jump in the arena (a piece of PVC pipe set on top of a cinder-block) and Steen knocked it off on his first attempt to step over it, so after that I just left it on the ground and had him walk over it, stop halfway over it, back up after he'd gone over it, and things like that. Steen really loves these littles challenges and gets quite proud of himself when he does things "right." I should try to set up such goals for him more often.

Bear was perky and energetic today, at one point showing quite a bit of spunk on the line kicking up his heels etc.. He was much drier and much warmer by the time we turned the two of them back out (Steen once more wearing his blanket), so hopefully our efforts will help him stay comfortable tonight.

I've really had trouble getting into a winter riding routine this year. Transitioning from lovely fall to frigid winter is always hard, and I must admit my recent fall has me feeling a bit more cautious than usual. But getting out there is always nice when I manage it, even on days like today when riding is not involved.  I just need to keep that in mind and rally more often.

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