Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

Wolfie the Wonder Horse!
Wolfie, 24/02/08

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Wolfie is fed half haylage half hay at night. I've always put his feed/ hay etc on the floor for him to eat, which he seems to prefer. I try to mix the hay and haylage so that he can have enough to keep him occupied during the night. It's a long time to be standing with nothing to do and if he's occupied the less likely he is to get up to mischief. He eats every blade of haylage and then plays with the hay, dragging it through his bed and burying it at the back, resulting in me having to throw away large amounts of hay every day, and with the price of hay at the moment I can't afford for him to be wasting it. He can't have haynets as he paws them and ends up tangled up in them. I thought about various alternatives including a hay bar, but decided he would just haul the hay out and chuck it on the floor or destroy whatever the hay was kept in (wolfie has rubber everything in his stable). My dad kindly fixed up an old hay rack and fitted it in his stable. The plan being that he could still have his haylage on the floor, but the hay would be in the rack, so it was there if he wanted it, but he couldn't waste it. He was less than impressed when I brought him in, snorting and pawing the ground at the hay rack. He didn't touch a blade of hay out of it the first night, however the next night and last night he has eaten a little. I think the cold weather has helped, making him a little hungrier as I thought his haylage protest would go on for longer. However, I may have won this hay battle, but I very much doubt I will have won the war I'm sure it won't take him long to start pulling the hay out of the rack and dropping it onto the floor.

I was thinking about getting a waterproof exercise sheet, however decided on a fleece sheet in the hope that keeping him a little warmer may make him less inclined to leap around. I got a cheap one out of the saddlery and put it on him yesterday before going for a hack. He looked like a little race horse! It seems to do its job, as although he was still like a bouncing ball, he was much less tense through his back and hindquarters.

I've decided to try and be really disciplined and ride in the school 3 times a week (weather and ground surface permitting) and then hack twice at the weekend. It's difficult as it is an outdoor school and the flood lights create shadows everywhere. Wolfie normally spends his time spooking at his own shadow. I rode him for half an hour in the school tonight. It took him a good ten minutes to settle, but after that he was fantastic. I have started to ask him for a bend. We concentrated on 20m circles, serpentines, figure of eights in walk, with alot of halt transitions in between. Towards the end I asked for a couple of strides leg yield from the three quarter line back to the track. By the second attempt he had really got the idea and managed a couple of correct strides. He was really trying tonight and with both of us concentrating on something new, he started to really work through his back, walking really forward with that big long free stride of his.

Sunday, 16 November 2008


Wolfie did a pretty impressive rodeo horse impersonation today. He was really fresh and the air was icy cold. I dismounted and worked him quite hard from the ground before getting back on. I think I'm going to have to work him before getting on in the future, just to take the edge off him a bit. He has such a soft responsive mouth and is readily accepting and looking for a contact. I remember an instructor once describing the feel of the reins between the rider's hands and the horse's mouth as being like a knife slicing through soft melted butter. For the first time, I can properly feel that sensation with Wolfie. I just hope I can keep him this way, it's a huge deal to be so responsible. If he gets hardened or less sensitive it will be my fault.

Bouncing Ball

Wolfie has been stabled at night now for three weeks. It's taken a good fortnight for him to settle into his new routine. He accepted it pretty much straight away last year, but that's probably because he had been on box rest for a long time and he's a lot fitter and stronger this year. It's been a struggle over the last few weeks with the weather, dark nights and mucking out to keep him in consistent work. Where he is stabled, the horses get all year turnout, however due to the weather last week they were kept in for one day. By the time I got there after work, Wolfie was doing the wall of death around the stable. The only hard feed he is getting is a little chaff and sugar beet, nothing heating, but it's clear that he needs to be turned out every day, even if it's just for a few hours. He's just a fit, healthy 3 year old with a very active mind.

It was a nice day yesterday, so I decided to long rein him down the railwayline. We went out with Wolfie's next door neighbour Jake , who was being ridden. Even though Jake is a lot bigger, Wolfie has a much longer stride and a faster walk, so we took the lead. Wolfie was like a little bouncing ball or it was like he had springs in his feet. We haven't been out properly in ages and he was obviously full of the joys of life. I half halted him and did a lot of halt/walk transitions until he eventually settled. He does have the most amazing forward going walk, I almost have to jog at the end of the long lines to keep up.

Wolfie's mind is always active, if he gets bored, you end up with a potential battle on your hands. I try to prevent him from getting bored by setting him challenges. This can be changing direction, transitions, going up or down steeper inclines, through puddles, over ditches etc. It seems to work and keeps his mind on the job in hand. If he gets bored, he tends to stop, try and take his boots off or chew on any tack within close proximity to him.

There were two horses in the field next to the line who came galloping down to the fence. Both Wolfie and Jake had seen them, although they did not look overly concerned. Just as the horses stopped at the fence, one of them must have stood on a branch and snapped it. Both Wolfie and Jake took off at a flat out gallop, me at the end of the long lines with the sound of Jake's hooves thundering in my ears behind me. The whole thing must have lasted less than a minute, but was in slow motion. I remember thinking if I manage to stop Wolfie, and don't get dragged to the next village, Jake will career straight into us. I managed to get my wits together, my whole body weight behind him wasn't going to stop him, so as a last ditch effort, I used voice commands. He stopped instantly. Jake ground to a halt just behind me, so close that I could feel his breath on my neck. I'm glad Helen decided to ride him in the Myler bit yesterday. Wolfie settled back down and we continued on. That certainly got the adrenalin going and also was a sharp reminder that you can never become complacent or let your mind wander for a second when out with horses. Jake couldusually be considered pretty much bombproof, but it just goes to show. Wolfie enjoyed every second of being out and returned home tired but happy.