Archive for February, 2009
Klondike has me completely wrapped around his hoof.
The other day, I went out to get… somebody, I don’t remember who. Steven and Parker, maybe? And I saw this:
I went over to visit, and as usual he didn’t move a muscle, except to enjoy some nice neck scratchins. He began nosing the dirt in front of him, looking disappointed, then looking at me, then looking over at the big new round bale in the feeder. After two repetitions, what could I possibly do but give in and bring him breakfast in bed?
In riding news, I discovered over the weekend that though Klon is certainly easy to ride, and has retained everything quite while through his vacation, there’s still lots of work to be done. It’s easy to forget- he’s quiet, he understands basic bending, doesn’t wiggle so much anymore, and stays on the bend through a turn or circle. But all the recent work with Afton has led me onto a discovery mission to see how well Klondike can do lateral movement.
Answer: Not so much.
It takes a pretty monumental effort to get him to move over without totally losing steam. So I suppose the next step in our voyage together is to add some lateral movement to our repertoire. Yay… my favorite (I guess though, with all this work on it, maybe my body will get more centered/straight, right?)!
Anyhow, we haven’t had video of Klondike in ages, so here is a little bit:
Klondike was an absolute star today
Some friends came down to do some mega-grooming today, so for the first time in history, every CANTER horse on the farm got loads of attention today Klondike had to wait until all the mane pulling and brushing was over, because I mostly took care of that the other day and he looks pretty good.
When I finally got to him (after a nice little introductory ride on Parker), he seemed eager to get going, but was an absolute doll about everything- stood stock still to be mounted, and warmed up like a champ. No dolphining or anything, even while another horse was being a little goofy on the lunge line.
There were some ground poles set up around the ring, originally for the purpose of giving some visual aids to a rider who was having problems keeping her horse on the rail. We decided to use them as canter poles, even though they were close to the ends of the ring. While it wasn’t really a conscious plan on my part, I found that cantering the poles really helped us find a better quality canter.
Klondike naturally has an AMAZINGLY comfortable canter, but he tends to go with a shorter stride, more up and down than forward and out. When I’ve worked on getting a more forward canter, he can get a little hurried or unbalanced, but the poles really seemed to help. He had to get light and balanced in order to get over the “in” pole without biffing it, go forward and long to get to the “out” pole without biffing it, and then he had to come back and organize for a very quick turn to the next pole. After a few circuits, we actually found the golden happy medium- a lovely forward canter that was covering some ground but was also well balanced.
It was pretty cool, and I was sort of impressed with myself for having started doing it in the first place
After we worked on that, I thought I would spend more time working at the trot, but he seemed pretty tired at that point, and keeping him in front of my leg was a bit difficult. So, me being lazy ,I decided to go for a trail ride by ourselves (after the last trail ride, this qualifies as a “great” decision, ha!)
But Klon was a champ- we went for a reasonably long walk, and spent most of it on the buckle with not a care in the world. He got a little bouncy when we met some bad footing in a few spots, but otherwise was a perfect angel. Sometimes, when I’m riding my own horse, I get an overwhelming feeling of contentment, like I’m in exactly the place I’m supposed to be and everything in the world is right, just for that moment. We had a few of those minutes today, and it was wonderful
I might see if some different people at the barn can hop on him a little in the coming weeks, just to see what he actually looks like, and to get him used to that kind of variety again, seeing as folks will probably start coming to see him relatively soon
(I have to admit though, the prospect of him going to a home is making me a little sad- last time, it wasn’t so bad, I knew I was going to miss him but I was really happy about the person he had found and where he was going. This time… I dunno, I feel like the longer he’s with us the harder it will be to let go. He’s just a special guy.)
I think when Jess said, “He sure does love himself ” in her comment the other day, she didn’t realize exactly how appropriate that really was…
Since he’s been coming back to work, Klondike has been making me giggle almost nonstop with his goofiness. He seems to enjoy puffing himself up and acting all dramatic (whether it’s the Dolphin move he does at the canter, or the funny noises he makes when he’s telling me he wants to canter), and then, when all is said and done, he’s incredibly proud of himself.
Yesterday was another example. Keep in mind that despite the warm weather over the weekend, the footing has still been largely frozen underneath the mud (and to some extent still is), so the 70 degree weather yesterday thawed things out quite a bit. So the ground in many places was prime footing for some serious fun of the type most of the horses haven’t had in quite some time
So yesterday, the ground is good and he got a pedicure, so he seemed a little saucy when I got on. I did a brief warmup in the ring, and he was very much on task and every bit the gentleman, so I joined Allie and Lisa (with woooody!!) for a trail ride.
We did not anticipate how silly little chestnut geldings can be, nor did we anticipate how much they might play off each other. Early in the ride, while everyone was walking, a mood seemed to hit Mr. K, and started bouncing, until he was in the canter going up a hill. Woody tried to bounce along in his wake, but wasn’t fully committed at that point. At the top of the hill, Klondike arched his neck like he’d just conquered Mt. Everest.
As the ride progressed, we tried to trot in several places, but Klon was having none of that and bounced along in his cute little canter instead. At one point he did a lovely flying lead change, which is pretty awesome I think. I take these things however I can get them, because if I ask, in a ring, it’s not likely to happen. But now I can totally say “he has lead changes!” with confidence, right?
We handled several water crossings very nicely, and things were going well in the woods, when all of a sudden the trail opened up into some grade A great footing areas. Once again, a trot was attempted, but Klondike and Woody (who were seriously acting like class clowns) really wanted none of that, and soon we were cantering again. Up through a somewhat treacherous channel into another field, where I had a brief moment to say, “hey! this is where I got all gooey and fell in love with this horse the first time!” except it flew by in a rush, before I could really get that whole sentence out.
Somewhere in the next field, we came back to the walk, and Allie, very smartly, suggested some leg yielding to put them to work, rather than the jogging that was going on (it was more of a western pleasure type jog, than a nervous jig, they’re very different, really!). When he finally realized that nobody else was going to play along, Klon sort of huffed and started walking (mostly) again.
We had one more interesting outburst- coming out of the woods for a final time, there was a nice hill and inviting field in front of us, and someone couldn’t resist (I’m not sure who started it, honestly) and suddenly we were all cantering up the hill. This canter soon turned into a gallop at the top of the hill (at least for some of us, though I won’t name names). The highlight of this (for me) was where we almost ran into a tree, because I sort of thought we were going right, then I realized there was another horse there, and my moment of indecision landed me really close to getting swiped off as we ducked to the left at the last minute. At some point, I heard a rush of high pitched noise go by, that turned out to be Lisa and Woody, who managed to wind down to a stop fairly soon thereafter.
The rest of the ride was pretty much without held to a flat walk, and by the time we got back to the barn, Klondike was strolling around on a totally loose rein, looking incredibly pleased with himself. It kind of makes me laugh that none of the silliness seemed related in any way to nervousness or anything like that- I think they just wanted to play. Since the very “worst” (and really, “worst” is relative- Klondike’s “awful” is most horses’ “pretty darn good”) that Klondike can throw at me is still fun, all I could think about today was how much I wanted to get back out there (though in reality, I think 50 mph wind gusts wouldn’t be so enjoyable for me!).
In other news, he had his hooves trimmed yesterday, and we’re pretty ecstatic at how they look. I have some photos from several months ago, showing how flat his soles were, and some other stuff, so it will be fun to compare them to new pictures. Especially his hinds- they were flat as pancakes there for a while, but have developed amazingly well. He is acting super sound even on gravel and rocks, to boot. *happy dance*
I’ll have to do those pics over the weekend… stay tuned!
(oh, and allie said some magic words the other day… “hunter pace“…. his specialty! Maybe if we go again we won’t come in 18 minutes under the optimum time? hah!)
The weather over the weekend could not have been any more perfect. I mean, sure, another ten degrees warmer and I could have had a t-shirt on, but you can’t have everything (and it’s FEBRUARY!). So over the weekend Klondike got two rides, and also a fair amount of cleaning up.
The warmer weather seemed to take a lot out of him- he started our ride on Saturday with a little “dolphining” at the canter, and looking for things to pretend to spook at (again, if you know this horse, you know that all of this is the antithesis of “a big deal” and serves mostly to make us giggle). He was feeling great, until about two minutes in, when he realized it was actually sort of hot out. And then he switched gears to “noo… I kinda just want to walk now.”
On Sunday, we only had a brief little warmup in the ring, then went for a short trail ride to refresh his brain a little bit (since that is his favorite thing). He wasn’t fond of some of the footing- even with two warm days in a row there’s a fair amount of ice under the mud- and so he got a little cranky a few times, but for the most part he was a good boy.
After getting back we took advantage of the warm temps by having a nice bath. Of course, everyone else was doing the same, so while waiting in line for the wash stall, I snapped a few conformation pictures of him. His neck has REALLY changed since the first set of “before” pictures His butt has too, but that is less noticeable from the side.
I actually took a whole bunch of these pictures, while he stood there ground-tied, heh. He’s so wild. The mane was really killing me- on the one hand, I sort of liked it and felt it gave him a real Barbie horse look. On the other hand, though… well, it sorta had to go. But first, a bath, so I could also give him a “racing stripe” (clip the chest and part of the neck, up to the poll).
Though it shouldn’t have surprised me so much, having a clean horse made it much easier to clip him later. On the flip side, I think Klondike was completely unimpressed with the idea and really wanted to go back out, so he gave me a sort of hard time with it, resulting in one side of his neck having a few odd tufts of hair left.
The mane, though, was the bigger challenge. It was so long that trying to just pull it would have been near-impossible, so I sucked it up and grabbed a pair of scissors (I know). My plan was to cut first, and then pull the rest, but I did not anticipate that Klondike would think so badly of this idea. He made the “pulling” part of the exercise fairly difficult, and I was unable to pull the whole thing. With years of conditioning screaming against it, I grabbed the scissors again, cut the whole thing even, and did my best to ‘up cut’ (or whatever that’s called) so it wouldn’t look so obvious.
It’s a little scary that people let me near horses with sharp objects (but, really, his mane doesn’t look quite that short in person- it sticks up a little! Really! I didn’t take it ALLLL!!!)
All that done, I had a moment of misgiving about turning him out- it was too warm for blankets, really, and would be for most of the week… but all I could think was that I had just gotten him pretty clean. And his first project would be to get himself dirty again.
In the end I left him blissfully uncovered, and he moseyed out into the sunset to find the best place to roll.
So, when CANTER sends a horse off to their new homes, we disclose everything about that particular horse that we have any knowledge of. We want the home to be the perfect fit, and our horses to be happy happy happy.
So when we sent Klondike off with Mary, we were all very happy and very sad all at once. His vet records sent along included his schedule of shots, wormers and the mention of an ultrasound way back.
Shortly after Klondike arrived, he began developing cases of hives.
Huh? We said? We’d once had a case of rain-induced hives (the bumps that can lead to rain rot), but never actual ‘hives’ that didn’t go away with the moisture. In our care, Klondike had been on 5 farms, with five very different soil/grass/vegetation. We’d never seen a problem. We gave our advice and assumed it was a small glitch that would go away.
It totally didn’t.
Klondike started developing hives each time he was put out in the pasture. The hives started leading to what we think was gas colic each time, and he was becoming lethargic and depressed. Clearly he was not going to survive at his wonderful new home, despite heroic attempts to resolve the issue by his new owner. CANTER purchased gastroguard, Mary took him to New Bolton–nobody and nothing could fix him, we had to remove him from the environment . So it was with much sadness that we picked him up in September.
When we got him home, I wasn’t sure what would happen when we turned him back out. Would he have an allergic reaction? Would he colic? He had been reacting to grass at their farm. Would he react the same way back home? We turned him out on a light pasture and watched him for an hour….Nothing…No reaction. Three days later we put him out with the ‘real’ grass and watched closely….Nothing still! Phew! It seems to be a very random item he was allergic to–perhaps related to the irrigation or wet creekbed near that bisected the turnouts.
We decided to give him some months off, as I feel that not only is the illness traumatic, but changing farms constantly is traumatic on a horses system as well. So thats what we did. Klon went out to the funny farm and got EXTRA SUPER DUPER FAT. As you’ve read before, this is a horse who thrives on constant attention–he loves a job. He loves people. He loves himself .
He told me in no uncertain terms that he was BORED and wanted a JOB, last week. So we brought him back to be put into retraining again. I’m happy to report that yet again, farm #2, no reactions. I’m thrilled he is back, but so sad he was not able to stay with his new person.
So that’s the story! Just one more benefit to buying a horse through CANTER–we take them back!
Thats all for now,
So, it’s been a long time since there have been any updates here, but it is time for a new entry in the Klondike Chronicles.
After returning from his wonderful adopter (who wrote the last few entries) due to some health problems (in a nutshell, he was allergic to her farm, which is probably the simplest way to put it, and very heartbreaking for all involved), Klondike has had the winter to chill out at Camp Humble (aka the “funny farm), where he grew a long mane, and continued to get Very Fat.
The last few times I saw him out there, he was actually sort of grumpy, like he was a little mad at us. We figured he was probably bored out of his mind, and just really upset about being more or less ignored, seeing as he thrives on attention.
So over this past weekend, Klondike has come BACK to Southwind for some tuning up and cleaning up, so that we can find him his person. I found myself watching the clock yesterday, really anxious to get going so that I could see him again. When I finally got to the barn, I willingly slugged through the freezing rain and snow, and even knee-planted in a pile of muck, all to get to “my” boy.
I was extremely happy to see that he wasn’t still mad at me- he seemed thrilled that I was there for him, and led easily across the field to come in (one of his tricks used to be to stop and see if you could make him go). He was eager to come into the barn, and really, REALLY enjoyed his grooming session. He appears to be fat as a tick, and has grown out his mane, so now he looks like a reining horse. His coat is so long, and dirty, that he almost looks carpeted. Except for his face, which is as cute and adorable as ever. In fact, I am pretty sure that Klondike is the ONLY horse in the universe who could have a cute-off with my horse. They’re both the most expressive beasts I know.
After cooing over him for a while, I grabbed some tack and hopped on. Because who wouldn’t just hop on a horse that has had 4 months off, in an indoor, during a snow-shower?
He actually was a little goofy at first- he didn’t want to stand for me to get on, and then when I did get on, he did a fair amount of head-flipping, hopping, and going sideways. For the first ten minutes, I was really starting to rethink my logic. He was trotting almost in place for a while (or, “prancing” if you want to call it that), with his head waaaay up in the air, and when I asked for a canter, there was much nose flinging and leaping.
As you might remember, though, Klondike’s version of mis-behavior is pretty easy to deal with (or at least to stay with), so it was hard for me not to giggle the whole time (though for a second I started worrying he might throw more at me). I’m pretty sure those big leaping canter steps don’t really look like much, anyway.
After a few more minutes, he started to settle down, stopped screwing his head around every time I made contact, and started going like a good boy. We learned very quickly that he is quite sound- perhaps sounder than when he left the last time, even though he’s fully barefoot again. In addition, he remembers everything and very quickly was going around like an old pro. After riding Afton, his “wiggliness” and tendency to lean through turns felt like nothing, so it was quite easy to correct.
He trucked around the ring for a while with his neck arched and head stretched out, prompting Allie to say, “Hey, I think there’s a show next week…” or something similar, anyway. We set up a little crossrail and popped over it a few times in each direction, and he was super.
He still had loads of energy even after I called it quits- I think despite not being ridden in a while, he really wanted to keep going. But given his weight and lack of work, I suspect he’ll be feeling it a little today
I’m hoping it won’t be too hard to keep up with all this- with Klon back I need to update here, and of course besides my own horse (who did out-cute Klondike last night, just for the record, even though that’s AWFULLY hard), there’s also Stephen, Afton, and now Parker to consider (will update about them on the Rosey blog, of course). So much to do… this weekend will be beauty parlor weekend for Klondike and Parker (aka “Prospect Park”)- will make sure to have some before/after photos!