Brrr!!!! It is supposed to snow here soon! The highs this week might get above freezing and they lows are looking like single digits. I have never felt zero degrees before and I am a little nervous! I sure am glad I have an indoor arena to ride in and I'm betting Boomer is glad he has a blanket on these COLD nights!
Lots of updates!
First, we moved Boomer to a new barn when we came back from the endurance ride. The new place is about $45 more per month, but it has a number of perks. We left the last place because there wasn't really access to trails. There was a hay field we could ride in and woods that led to the roadway, but nowhere to really ride.
This new place has access to a trail system of about 5 miles on around 2000 acres. To get to the trail you have to ride about 3/4 of a mile down a gravel road. Boomer is now on a pasture with a small group. It is about 10 horses on 24 acres. They have a second 16 acre pasture that they rotate to occasionally. Right now it houses the 5-6 small cattle used in their lesson program. I am experimenting with a grain free diet for Boomer right now. I have been considering it for a while now, but at the last boarding place, it wasn't an option because of his paddock size (1/4 acre) and their hay ration (4 flakes per day). For now, Boomer has good pasture and when I ride he gets a pound of grain and 1-2 flakes of hay. I am continuing to evaluate his body condition and will not hesitate to supplement should he need it. I am considering supplementing with grain vs. supplementing with Cool Calories (99% fat, dried powder, works VERY well) in alfalfa pellets/cubes/beet pulp.
Since this is the first time I have had Boomer in such a large pasture I have been working on bribing him to come to meet me when I go catch him. I don't really like giving treats excessively as I have ridden and worked around spoiled, pushy, nippy horses and they are NOT a joy to be around. When I worked for the polo player, his wife would come out and hand feed BUCKETS of treats to 'her horse' over the weekend and it would take me all week to get that mare to stop assaulting me for treats. Really annoying. However, I do like to give Boomer carrots and apples when we travel and are out for long rides. On our endurance ride, I gave him little baby carrots at both vet holds and along the trailer ride home. In a situation like that where he is working so hard for me and it is important to keep his hydration up and guts moving, natural fruit treats are great! Treat digression aside, I have been bringing Boomer an apple every time I go to get him out of the pasture. My hope is that he will start coming to me when he sees me and I won't have to wander around a 24 acre pasture in January following his frozen tail for an hour before I can catch him. The other horses seem to understand this concept already and Boomer at least looked up and turned towards me last time I went out there.
I went for a ride on Saturday with a group of friends and I hauled the 5 minutes to the Kill Creek trail head so that I could easily meet my friends. We rode for over two hours and had a blast even though we about froze our fingers and toes off! The horses were all very good and Boomer really made me proud. He was great with things like water crossings, etc. and helped other horses cross challenges when needed! He was a little rushy when the horse(s) ahead of us would get too far away, but we did work on that and I saw some improvement. He and I did struggle with the correct distance behind the horse in front of us and it wasn't until he got kicked that he actually backed off. He really needed to learn that one on his own I guess. We really had fun and were out for over 2 hours, which I think ended up being about 8 miles or so.
The brakes on my trailer are in need of servicing and John and I spent some time this weekend trying to figure out why they are sticky and locking up. Seems like the electrical plug in the truck bed got moisture in it because the cover got broken off. This is causing the brakes to do a sort of 'all or nothing' thing so when I ease off the truck break, the trailer break just pops open and causes a jerk. Also, after reading the manuel, we realized that the breaks needed to be adjusted after the first 200 miles of driving. We estimate that it has about 1700 miles on it so far. So, once the weather clears *haha* John is going to replace my electrical outlet and adjust the brakes.