Friday, December 5, 2008

Riding like the Indians!

After John got off work yesterday we went out to the barn and I rode the horse even though it was a bit more chilly than I enjoy. It was our first post-chiropractor ride and it went pretty well. He was eager to move out and did everything I asked of him: walk, trot, turns, circles, serpentines, stopping, giving to the bit. Although on occasion, he would stop and act fussy. He would toss his head or come up on his front feet- a little mini rear. It wasn't anything big or bad, but he was certainly voicing his opinion. He only fussed 2-3 times in the 30 minutes we rode, but he always rode it out and I really don't think it was a pain issue. He was happy and compliant otherwise and his fits never lasted more than a few seconds.

Today, I went out this morning to a light dusting of snow and below freezing temperatures until probably 11 am. I was out there by 9 am and broke up ice, turned the horse out, and mucked the paddock. I fed the horse and took off the blanket before I left. When I got there I was a bit concerned about the blanket not being waterproof and it having rained, but he was dry! He was also cool under the blanket, which is good. If a horses shoulder feels hot under the blanket, the weather is too warm for them to be wearing one. I think he enjoys having a blanket on!

I got the coupons from Purina in the mail recently. $20 off your purchase of 2 bags of premium food. I bought 2 bags of Ultium and my cost was only $25 after the coupon. Pretty much buy one get one free. How often does that happen? So, I have two coupons and John is getting two in the mail soon. We are saving $80 on horse feed. I may not like shopping, but I sure love saving!

A note about our feeding. Ultium is a really great food for performance horses. It is about 12% protein, 16% fat, and 18% fiber. The fat and fiber level is about twice what most other foods offer. Because it is a quality Purina product, it also has lots of added vitamins and minerals. Because Boomer isn't working very hard right now I have been feeding him a 50/50 mix of Ultium and Purina's Horseman's Edge pelleted feed. Horseman's Edge is a very basic no nonsense food. It doesn't have a lot of added vitamins and minerals and has lower fat and fiber levels. It runs about $11 a bag. This way Boomer is getting the benefit of eating Ultium, but not the added energy. Once we start training more in the spring I will start doing straight Ultium if he seems to need the added energy.

I think for the winter I will continue to work him in the round pen (which has dried out, thankfully) or lunge line to keep him mentally exercised as well as up on his cues. It will also be a good light exercise for him to stay in shape over the winter if we to ground work for 3 days a week. I think other than that I will aim to ride 1-2 times a week on particularly warm days ;) that way, once spring rolls around, he will have enough riding hours on him to not be so darn green and I can start conditioning for rides!

On to the good stuff... I rode bareback today! I wasn't feeling a ride this afternoon so I didn't grab my saddle. Once we got out there I had already made my mind up that we would ride bareback and haltered and led Boomer into the round pen. I free longed him for about 20 minutes to wear off the 'stink', which proved helpful. Then I tied the lead rope onto his halter and had John 'hold' him against the round pen panel. I slowly climbed up and Boomer put his ears back at first and wiggled his rump around. We walked off with John next to his head and then I reversed and John stayed in the middle. Boomer had his ears forward, his steering was impeccable, his stops were great! He wasn't at all concerned after the first half lap! His only issue was at the trot, his ears were pretty well pinned back the whole time in both directions, but I forgave him for that seeing as how it was a very new sensation and he still moved out well and was being obedient. So, that's the good news! My pony is bareback ride-able in a halter and lead rope!!! I used to love to ride Fire in a halter and lead rope when I was a kid! We used to go full speed in the pasture like that. I'm not quite as brave anymore, but this was a start!

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