Posted by: bizzylizzy262 | March 31, 2014

Spring Break in Review

Well, tomorrow I head on back to the daily grind as a school speech-language pathologist. Let IEP season begin (wait, it hasn’t already???)! As far as Cloud goes, spring break was pretty great!

As you may recall, prior to spring break I was housesitting/dog- and horse-sitting, so I was not riding Cloud for two weeks as it was just too much and my responsibility was with the animals under my charge. It was interesting timing, having just moved Cloud, but the way I saw it, he would have a chance to get to know his new pasture buddies and settle in a bit. And the good part of the timing was that my spring break started the day the family got back!

Spring break started a little rocky for my ‘get back in riding shape’ plan. The first weekend I was just busy with my Main Stay job and spending time with my boyfriend on his days off. Then Monday hit, which was Cloud’s regularly scheduled spring vet visit…not really good time for our first ride back to work. Our vet, Dr.McGowan, has been with us for over 10 years now, and she is pretty great. The first thing she said when she saw Cloud was that he had dropped some weight. Her initial concern was that the weight drop had to do with the move, but when I told her that we’d only been there a few weeks she dismissed that concern and turned the blame on me. She feels that Cloud is one of ‘those horses’ (as she put it) that loses weight when he’s not regularly worked. She said it does not make sense, but she has known a few horses that drop in weight when they are not ridden. All the same, her recommendation was to boost his grain, add extra helpings of beet pulp, start riding, and look into a crib collar in case his increased cribbing (the fencing at the new barn does not have an electric strip on the top board) is contributing to his weight loss. He hasn’t worn a crib collar in years. For one, he has those lumps on the side of his face that rub his hair off/chaff under the famous “Miracle Collar”, and for two, I’m not the hugest fan of the collars. But since it could be impacting his weight, I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Other than his weight, there’s nothing major to report. Blood was drawn for coggins, shots were given, teeth were floated, and his sheath was cleaned. Mr. Wobbly Legs had no trouble aiming a few good kicks at our favorite vet.

Then came Tuesday, which I spent at Main Stay for staff/instructor/various meetings the whole day – another day outta the saddle.

And then there was Wednesday…our farrier was out for his usual reset. But, dum-dum-dum-DUM! I rolled outta bed and made it to the barn in time to ride before his shoes were reset. I had planned on a slow start back into riding. In the past, especially in winter, we have had to spend our first few rides literally just walking and loosening his stiff joints. But not this time! Pasture board is really suiting Cloud well, and we were able to jump right in to rides mostly trotting with walk breaks, and a little canter as well.

I rode Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. My main focus was my body position and getting Cloud started back up using himself correctly and being loose/flexible. With that in mind we stayed off the rail. We did a lot of circles in the middle of the arena (completely off the rail, love how wide the arena is!), centerlines, cutting across the arena, figure 8’s, big serpentines, shallow serpentines, etc. It felt really really good to be back working, and I just was in a crazy bliss state following each ride.

Unfortunately, I have not ridden this weekend 😦 😦 😦 My family has suffered a loss and I spent the weekend supporting my family. I will be back in the saddle tomorrow and hope to have a good solid week in the saddle.

Before I go, I’d just like to do another little update on our new barn. Due to the wet conditions as our Chiberia snow is melting (yeah, it’s not entirely gone yet), Cloud and his buddies Dusty and Frodo have relocated to an all-weather paddock. It’s smaller, but not too bad, and they have a really nice shelter that Cloud took advantage of when it rained. I have continued to just be thrilled with how he has adjusted to life as a pasture horse. Instead of feeling guilty or worrying about him, I’m actually feeling really satisfied. What is more natural than being outside and living in a herd?? Certainly his old joints are reaping the benefits. He is pretty calm and content, too. I know when he is unhappy, and he is doing so well here. Who knew???

I am happy too. I do miss my friends at Cliffwood, and my tack locker (lol), but the new barn is pretty great too. The boarders are super friendly and all so different, which is fun. I like talking to the barn owner’s daughter, she is definitely a fun person! She loves her horse as much as I love mine, and I always connect to people like that!

Oh, and per vet instructions, Cloud’s feed rations are on their way up. I made gallon ziplocs to increase his feed over 10 days. The barn’s farmhand, Martin, and I worked out a deal with Cloud’s grain. Cloud is the only pasture boarded horse that gets 2 meals a day (apparently most pasture horses are easy keepers haha), and since I am usually out at night when Martin feeds Cloud, I have taken over Cloud’s PM feeding, with Martin as a back-up if I can’t come out (like Tuesdays when I teach). This saves Martin time, since most days I was telling him I’d feed Cloud anyways. And I am the type of person who enjoys whatever extra that I can do for my own horse instead of having someone else do it for me. With Cloudy’s new rations, it makes for a nice long, quiet, peaceful visit between us two. Bliss.

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