Monday, May 13, 2013

Doing Better

Brian drove out to the barn first thing this morning. He took Bear's temperature and was happy to discover it was back down to normal. He also checked on new girl's butt, and although he didn't get super close to her, he could tell it had stayed closed in the night. Two very good things.

This afternoon I headed out for another check up. I took Bear's temperature and it was again normal. He also just seemed a whole lot more like himself.

Then I set out to catch our girl. She's on oral antibiotics for a week while the tush heals. In the herd, she has clearly moved up in the 48 hours since she arrived. She has collected a little entourage. All the sorrel horses in the herd appear to have fallen in love with her. That makes one large quarter horse who does not belong to us, one medium sized quarter horse who does not belong to us, and one tiny red pony who does not belong to us.

I hoped to catch her without moving her around too much, but her new status as adored mare in the herd made her inclined to play hard to catch. (The fact that we caught her and tortured her with needles and stitches and medication yesterday also didn't help, I'm sure.) Although she let me get close to her a number of times and even pet her, she'd present me with her butt as soon as I lifted the halter. So I stopped playing nice and started making her move out in earnest if she wanted to leave. She got pretty uppity, and she had her crew running around with her. I drove them into the winter lot and closed the gate to make my life a little easier.

It always feels like it takes longer than it does. I switched between giving her a hard time and letting other horses back out the gate until it was down to her, the tall quarter horse, and the pony. I also really upped the pressure, whacking the ground with my rope when I was far away so she never had a chance to forget about me even when she ran to the other side of the pen. Finally she started looking at me instead of just running, and of course whenever she did this I dropped all pressure immediately and took a step back. I never did manage to draw her to me. I wasn't all that happy with how much she was moving because I didn't want her to re-open anything, but I had to catch her if I was going to get her meds into her so didn't have much choice. When she let me approach and halter her, I accepted that. We'll save actually making her come for another day.

Once haltered, she was a doll. I took her to the tie rack and gave her some water. She was happy to drink while I mixed her medicine concoction. I've had trouble with horses refusing to eat uniprim before, but she slurped it down with a little bit of sweet feed, no problem.

I got a close look at her poor ripped up behind. It's pretty puffy on one side, but the stitches are holding well. The vet did say there was hardly any muscle trauma, so hopefully the fact that it has held for 24 hours means it will stay put until it can heal in earnest.

I took her back to the pasture. I figure that was good reinforcement. Hopefully she'll connect that she wasted all that time and energy running around in an attempt to get out of what turned out to amount to only treats and pets.

Then, since I was there anyway, I figured I should ride Steen. I tacked him up by our locker and warmed up in the indoor arena. I have been wanting to work more on simple lead changes, and since I had the arena to myself it seemed like a good opportunity. I started out with simpler things. Steen was very with me today, even more-so than usual. We got a lot accomplished in a very short time. I was also really able to focus and settle in, and we were just timed up with each other. We trotted the most perfect circles I have ever achieved. We were literally taking the exact same step every stride. He was on a loose rein and I had my legs set in the bend I wanted, and we trucked around and around.

The simple lead changes went pretty well. Steen still has a tendency to want to rush through the trotting steps between one canter and the next. We always got the correct lead anyway, but it could have been cleaner.

We had been working on those for just a few minutes when a lesson came in, two beginners and their trainer, which was making our little arena more snug than seemed necessary. I went outside to the strip. We ambled up and down the fence-line a little. I was happy to see our other three sharing a bale in harmony. (Bear is on the far side, so you can't see him, but you can see the collection of sorrels the new girl has acquired.)

We returned to trotting our circle, and it was just as perfect outside as it had been inside. Which is an accomplishment for us. No dishy corners, no barn magnet. Steen was just even and happy to go where I wanted. I collected him and did a little serpentine and went the other way and it was great. So we moved into the lope. The circle stayed awesome. We did a few laps, then I straightened him out and we loped down the strip for a ways, then bent back towards home. He didn't get in a hurry coming back, and when we got back to the top we returned to our circle, did several more laps and went down the strip again.

I only rode for 35 minutes, but it felt like an hour. We got so much done and had such a great time. I dismounted feeling pretty satisfied. Steen seemed pretty pleased with himself too.

So, I'm hopeful that Bear is out of the woods and new girl's butt patch will continue to hold. In the meantime, at least we have two other horses to ride. :)

Ride Time: 0:35
Horseback Hours YTD: 56:10


  1. Good to hear your ponies are doing better. I have to say that mare/gelding relationships are probably one of my biggest frustrations in the horse world. I've only really dealt with this from the gelding side, but having a gelding who's in love with a mare he met 30 minutes ago and absolutely cannot bear to be parted from is pretty annoying. At least most of the mares seemed as though they could care less about him.

  2. That's interesting. I can't say any of our geldings have ever shown a particular interest in mares (even Bear, who was a stud for 12 years). They've been friends with mares, but they've never had trouble leaving those friends behind.

    We've certainly never had one grow instantly obsessed with a mare, but that is clearly what happened with some of these other geldings as soon as our new girl joined the herd. The pony calls and paces when we take her out of the pasture, and the red geldings were both calling for her yesterday too. She wasn't even looking in their direction.

    At any rate, it will be educational to see how it all pans out...

  3. Geldings in love are definitely a thing. Another boarder and I were talking about starting a support group because it's just so frustrating to deal with.

    I couldn't tell you much about why it happens. Some geldings seem particularly prone to it (Trekker), and some don't (Tranikla). Some mares seem to bring it out in geldings more than others. Trekker has fallen in love with some mares, and not others. Tranikla has been fond of certain mares, but never to the point of calling for them or getting upset when they're separated (although a "were have you been?!?" nicker when they return is not unusual). There are some mares here that are known to bring out this behavior in geldings, but not necessarily in every gelding.

    Horses. Who knows what's going on in their heads sometimes.

  4. I don't doubt it's a thing. It just makes you wonder why some geldings seem to do this and others don't. The three that got super attached to Zoey at first seem to have mostly gotten over it already, which is even more mystifying...


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