Let me just say that while Desire is bigger, smoother, prettier, and more powerful–Blaze is just the dearest thing in the world! He is such a good soul, I don’t think I’ve ever had a horse partner that I more just want to hug all the time. Especially in winter when he has his thick fluffy coat and looks like an over sized stuffed animal. I’ve been around the block with horses in the last 3 or 4 years of the endurance mount hunt and I haven’t met a single one as relaxed and loving as Blaze. Today I pulled him, fitted the Specialized to him to the best of my ability, threw a water bottle in the pack and headed out through the neighborhood. He hadn’t been ridden out in 3 1/2 months (due to no saddle to fit him and resting his back from saddle fit issues last season) and today he wore Easyboots for the first time that I’ve owned him (possibly first of his life?).
The saddle fitting was a yawn to him and the Easyboots being applied and settled into place with a smack of the rubber mallet didn’t even get an ear flick. His first few steps out of the cross ties in the boots were leisurely but exaggerated–just like the first time I put full sport splint boots on him, his first few steps were VERY exaggerated in knee action, and let’s face it, hilarious. I took him down to the arena and and walk-trotted him on the lunge line to let him feel the boots, get any potential freak outs out of the way, but being Blaze he just did what I asked, ho-hum, no biggey. I decided to let him off the lunge line inside the arena since that’s the only time he seems to feel it’s appropriate to really let his kinks out, and he cantered around the arena doing flying lead changes with his tail to the sky, boots stayed in place, no big deal. I’m a little confused on the Epics I’ve got, I’ve borrowed them from N and they are used, and I wonder if the cables are stretched out because even at the “tightest” setting of the cable clamp it doesn’t pull the boot snug around the hoof like I assume it should. I’ve never used Epics before so I’ll have to go read up on them and see if that is indeed how they’re supposed to fit. They did stay on his feet at walk, trot, and canter today, but the clamp doesn’t seem to be tightening the cable enough to do anything and there was a good amount of dirt accumulated inside the boot at the end of the ride which suggests a too-loose fit.
We took a short 4 mile spin around the neighborhood and it was just lovely, a gorgeous warm sunny day for a stroll on my Blazey boy. I’d gone about half a mile from home when a neighbor doing a burn pile called over “Hey, you don’t want another horse, do ya?” You know you’re on a rural country ride when….. I ended up chatting to him and his wife for a good 20 minutes while Blaze alternately grazed and turned his head to my toe to look at me like “Hey, lady, what’s the hold up?” There is a nicely built Palomino at that spot that I think about every time I ride from home. The poor thing is always underweight and turns out it is boarded by a neighbor on the land, while the land itself actually belongs to the old cowboy I met today. There is usually a bale of hay sitting in front of the corral but it’s never the same kind of hay twice and isn’t covered so at this point the open bale was fully molded through..and yep, the palomino was gobbling through a flake of moldy hay as I sat there talking to the landowners. They said they had been on the guy’s case to get his act together on horse care, had offered him another field if he would fence it, but “That young feller ain’t too big on working” as the cowboy said, and so the Palomino remains in it’s grazed down paddock, leaning on fences to try to get grass, eating moldy hay when someone remembers to throw a flake his way. The horse himself is a friendly thing, he came over to hang out near us a couple of times, when he could make himself leave his nasty breakfast. The landowners told me the horse was only 6 or 7 (he doesn’t look old and broken down in body, but who knows how accurate that estimate is) and that the last time they spoke to the owner the owner said he’d give the horse free “to a good home.” Just about anything’s better than YOUR home for him, guy! At least the dry winter has kept his paddock from turning into a mud hole, now that is a blessing for the Palomino. Anyhow I asked for the phone number of the owner and while I rode out and back the wife of the cowboy drove up to their house somewhere nearby and got the number which I collected on my way home. Now I happen to know of the horse owner by name, though I didn’t know he owned the horse. He was briefly the boyfriend of the gal we bought our place from, I’ve never met him but have heard about him. Last I heard he had a couple of horses he had gotten from her, but I don’t know what happened to those as neither was a Palomino and according to the landowners the Palomino is all he’s got left. Well I’m not saying I’m going to take the Palomino or anything, but I’ve felt bad for him every day since we moved here and never knew who he belonged to. I’m glad to know the owner’s name and have a contact #. I think I’ll call a mutual friend and ask if they know anything about the Palomino or his story. I wish I’d taken a picture of him to share with readers, now that I think about it! Just helps to put a face to a story I think. He really does have a fine build, just a couple hundred pounds underweight. Looks tall though, hard to tell since he was a little uphill from us but at least 15 hands. The rumor is he’s green broke, but who knows what that means around here. I’ll have to go take a photo of him tomorrow, or I might zoom down there today in the Polaris, take the doggies for a drive.
Anyhoo I had a really nice ride on Blaze in the Specialized. I randomly chose one of the three possible stirrup placements to rivet the stirrup leathers to last night and so far I like the angle it puts me at. I can already tell that Blaze’s gait will be easier to ride in the Specialized, for whatever reason. I was impressed by how forward and powerful Blaze was in our couple of short trots today, he certainly hasn’t forgotten his Power Trot from his LDs last season. I guess I was expecting him to be very lazy and out of shape and he certainly isn’t in the BEST shape technically, but he seemed to be more on his game than I expected. He worked up a healthy sweat on the ride and the saddle left an even sweat mark. Since our saddle fit issues last season he gives me the hairy eyeball when I test around his saddle area, whether just grooming or before or after a ride, and he did that today when I touched his back after pulling the saddle. Because he just does that around his back, in general, I can’t really tell if the saddle actually made him sore or if he is just using his habitual reaction. I’ll be keeping a very close eye on things as he gets back into conditioning, but I’m hopeful that the Specialized will really work for him and his oddly shaped back.
Blaze got a warm bath and sent home to roll in the muck and then I had to pull Desire and clean and treat her hooves for thrush. Sheza was all up in our business so I decided to pull and groom her and check her hooves for thrush too. She barged right up to me and let me halter her nicely, then pitched a small rebellious fit about following me across the field, but quickly gave that up. It was the first time pulling her and bringing her to the tie wracks when the other horses are away across the property, and it was a bit hairy. Desire was calling pretty persistently for her filly and Sheza was replying and getting and getting pretty amped up. It took me a lot more skittering around and shenanigans than usual to get all four hooves cleaned, but she did seem to enjoy grooming since she has started to shed and was liking the scratchy shedding comb. She was intermittently quiet and interested in me and screaming and thrashing around like an idiot. I saw a tiny bit of thrush in her front hooves and managed to paint some Hypozin on there and even got her to stand for a very quick go with the measuring tape. 13.3 at the withers. Oy vey. De-worming was interesting, I ran the syringe all over her face and neck and let her get bored with that then did my ninja-slide and dosed her before she even realized what happened, and only got a little on my breeches in the process. The goats had managed to escape while I was treating Desire’s hooves so they were roaming the property while I was working with Sheza but luckily they can’t resist the call of grain shaken in a bucket and came galloping back to their pasture after Sheza and I. Of course filly ended up getting most of the goat grain but hey, isn’t that her right as an Arabian princess?
I re-upped my gym membership Thursday and have already been twice, I am way sore from the elliptical and free weights, but am feeling awesome energy wise. I’m going to hit a couple of the organized classes this week, probably a spin class and maybe something for upper body work. Spin classes suuuckkk but are so awesome at the same time. I worked out hard yesterday and had a brisk busy horse morning so I’m ready to kick back on the sunny porch and finish my book!
p.s. If any of the readers out there are large chested like I am, today I experienced a revelation in boob containment. I decided to wear my sports bra OVER my regular bra and it was magical for riding. In place and not squashed beyond recognition thanks to the regular bra, but secure and not-so-bouncy thanks to the sports bra. Try it!