I spent a good deal of time on Sunday going through pictures and stuff on my old MacBook, and I found some “Skipper Cam” shots from back when he was still sound enough for me to pony around on. I posted them to Tumblr, along with some more old photos I’d forgotten about. This one is my favorite, from October of 2009.
Monday I got to ride Fairing, while wearing my new half chaps, and I set up a halt box exercise for us to practice. I got the idea from this article: Four Exercises to Master the Halt. I think often riders focus on improving the trot and canter without giving due attention to the walk and halt. But the horse needs to be responsive and moving correctly at all gaits, as well as able to produce a square halt. Plus, in dressage tests the free walk often counts twice.
Here’s the video if you’d like to take a look at how we did, or if you need some help falling asleep. Obviously, there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Tuesday I rode Dante and really wanted to try the halt box exercise with him, but the ring got dragged and the rails I used for the exercise were moved. Also, I didn’t set up my iPad that day because it looked as though it might rain any minute. But we spotted a deer while out hacking.
Wednesday morning the barefoot farrier–meaning she only works on barefoot horses, not that she herself works barefoot–came to trim Skipper’s hooves. It’s not easy for him to hold his feet up for her, thanks to his arthritis in just about every joint, but she’s patient with him. After she was done, I let him graze a few minutes (without his muzzle) as compensation.
Then I got on Spot, who needed a nice, forward walk around the farm and some light flatwork in the ring. Unfortunately, my timing was WAY off, because when we were ready to go in the ring, it was getting dragged. I had to be somewhere at noon and couldn’t wait, so Spot got to trot a little each direction in the field before walking up a big hill at the back of the property.
The vet came out to check Skipper’s teeth Thursday morning. The poor old guy has essentially outlived his teeth, and so he gets checked every 6 months. Good thing, too, because as it turned out he has a loose tooth and a piece of it had broken off. The vet was able to pull the fragmented bit, but the main part of the tooth wasn’t loose enough yet to easily remove. But it will fall out at some point, and then Skipper will have 2 missing teeth.
He obviously had to get tranquilized for all this, so I did the evil mom thing and took pictures of him while he was still woozy from the drugs. He cribs, and that little habit has worn his top incisors to nothing, which is why there’s nothing to hold his tongue in his mouth.
I then went to another farm and rode a foxhunter pony called Sweet Potato. The owner showed me around trails all through the property on his hunt horse, and then we went into a makeshift ring he has set up (temporary fencing/panels, no footing) and jumped over some low crossrails. Sweet Potato is a saint, but considering a 6 year-old foxhunts her, I guess she needs to be. I didn’t get any pictures, sadly.
Early Friday morning I rode Arty for my friend who’s out of town at a competition. After that, another girl and I set up course #9 from Woff’s book. It’s the one with that “cartwheel” exercise, for those of you familiar. For everyone else, it’s 3 jumps set up on a circle. We didn’t have enough standards and poles to set up 2 of the oxers, but all we ended up doing were the crossrails anyway. At least, that’s all I jumped on Dante.
AND I HAD A FREAKING BLAST, TOO!
Yesterday Mack‘s owner had me ride him, and I must say he wasn’t as lazy this time. She’s been working him regularly while she was on vacation these past few weeks, and that makes a difference. I had my iPad all set up, but I rode him really early trying to beat the heat, which meant the sun was in the wrong place and made my iPad get too hot and shut down a couple of minutes into our ride. This was disappointing because I didn’t realize it until after I was all done.
Then I rode Arty, and we encountered a family of turkeys (or whatever these birds are) while out hacking around in the back field. She wasn’t the least bit bothered by them, and she didn’t even spook when they moved away suddenly. I think we saw them before they saw us.
Oh, and we have new wash stalls out at the farm where Skipper lives–you can see them in the photo below, just to the left of the barn–so he got a bath this week. Here he is drying (and grazing) in the sun, multitasking.
The other cool pictures I took are of Dante wondering why he has to work for a living, a girth-hogging barn cat, and a doe with her fawn. But unfortunately the fawn ducked into the tall grass out of sight just as I snapped the photo.