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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Needle in a haystack (or field)

Rio had a long hard night on Thursday. Sarah goes down a little after me in the mornings, and it would appear that the boys had a little routine going. (Past tense as Rio bit Franks on the bum Thursday between my visit and Sarah's, and is now back in his own field...)
  • Graze at opposite ends of paddock when mum comes down, Franks to acknowledge presence, and possibly say hi, Rio to come and loiter around the wheelbarrow ready for poo quality control checks
  • Graze together for a bit as mum leaves
  • Rio to lay down for nap time in prep for Sarah's arrival, and Franks to stand watch
  • General grazing after Franks has had breakfast, including extra curricular activity such as sliding stops, cantering up the long side of the field in pairs, and apparently a smidge of cannibalism (although this can be thrown in whenever fancied...)
It's a shame really, as they seemed to be doing very well together in the field. They will be having supervised play dates in future, as although I don't want him tearing poor Franks to shreds, being able to interact with another horse is invaluable at his age. Having been the one with the horse on the end of the bullying originally, I don't want to be the mummy of the bully... 

How can such a funny boy be capable of such things hey?! This has to be one of my fave snaps Sarah has sent to me so far.

I spent my evening last night fencing Rio's field off so that he's got an L shape to roam and graze. There's still a LOT of grass in there, but thankfully the sheep have grazed down a little bit of it. I'm hoping it will be a good incentive for me to keep up the riding routine, so he doesn't balloon again. With any luck Franks can come over and visit for a bit and help with the grazing down too. 

I was just tidying all the bits up, when I realised that I had pinged the inch-long pin out of the fencing reel (the one that holds the end in place so it doesn't all unravel in storage)... I wasn't prepared to accept that vet bill, should Rio find it whilst grazing, so I had to walk the fence line in the hope it hadn't gone far. Would you believe I managed to find it? I was so pleased. I'm not sure I would have slept last night if I hadn't!

Today was one of those good days. Rio walked straight out of the field with me, walked up nicely, tried being a little cheeky on the last stretch and came back to me when I put my foot down. Stood nicely at the barn, picked his feet up with minimal fuss (he's been a little impatient the last few days with his feet). Stood perfectly to be tacked up, moved over when asked, and took his new bit without question. SIDENOTE: We are definitely keeping the Neue Schule, the new wider bit fits him perfectly, and I was actually sent a brand new one to trial this time! No need to even return it for a new replacement to keep. Result. Rio seemed indifferent to it being any different to his current bit, which I will take as a positive. It's a bit narrower than the steel one, but I'm hoping the Salox will even out the difference. Now to work on the contact... 

I actually schooled again today. We did a few transitions (nowhere near enough though now that I think about it) from walk to halt, and then from trot to walk to trot and some that were just trot to walk. He felt active underneath me, and although his shoulder was falling in on the end of some of our circles, we were trotting shapes in a nice forward way. We have a bit of an issue with Rio's canter transitions. He's picking them up much better in the bottom corners of the school. This is where I usually ask for canter. He's still struggling to maintain a canter for a full circuit, but the transitions into canter (in his "canter corners") are becoming much easier to make. So now we need to try cantering from other parts of the school. 

We finished off doing some trot poles, after getting some advice from Sarah on how to try and work him onto the bit. It didn't go so well today, but it's something I'm just going to have to work on with him and find our own way of discussing. I've never really worked "on the bit" before, so am not exactly sure how to ask what I want to ask, and because he hasn't particularly been taught to work on the bit, he's not sure what I'm asking yet either. Any advice welcome! I've had him take up a contact whilst out hacking on the field once before, but at the time, I wasn't specifically asking it of him, I guess I just found the right combination of things and was properly relaxed without intending on it. The trot poles were great fun though! We will definitely play with those more.

In other news, my cousin has got her new 4 year old OTTB at my yard for a little while whilst a space comes up at her place. He's fresh off the track, and is a cute leggy little chestnut. Watch this space!

Ride/play safe x