Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

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

Friday, 31 December 2010

Last post of 2010

In some ways I'll be more than glad to see the end of 2010, but it's also hard to move on and start another year because part of me doesn't want to leave things behind.   No matter where we turn at this time of year, it's impossible to avoid being confronted with the fact that someone very important is missing from our lives.  The season of goodwill has been hard, filled this year with the longing of what can never be.  2010 has pretty much been a write off for me.  I  have not achieved any of the goals I had set for Wolfie.  I am not going to dwell on it though.  We have achieved many things, just not reached the goals I had planned.  I shouldn't be morose about it.  To Wolfie, it hasn't made any difference, I suppose bringing him on slowly can only be beneficial to him.  I'm only disappointed for myself.  I feel like it's been a long, long road to get Wolfie to where he is.  I've put a lot of hard, hard work into that horse.  From nursing him through his illness, getting him back on his feet, basic handling, ground work, trying to build his confidence at every step.  I would do it all again in a second but I've taken everything really slowly with him and I just felt this year was going to be our year to start working seriously , but it wasn't to be.  To be fair, the relationship I have Wolfie is like none I have ever experienced with any other horse.  It is very intense and sometimes I worry about what would happen if he did ever have to be sold or move on to anyone else.  I just have to hope that we will never have to cross that bridge.  To me, Wolfie is a horse for life, so it doesn't matter how long it takes us to achieve our goals or live our dreams.  At least I know that he's now physically mature enough to cope with any work being asked of him.  I don't know if Wolfie remembers much of his life before me, to Wolfie I am still that main consistent thing in his life that made him two promises.  One was to do everything I possibly could, to make him better and the other was always to ensure that someone always fed him.  Wolfie hasn't changed, he does his best to learn and work with me.  It's me that now wants to achieve more,  I see so much potential in him,  but I'm positive that no matter what comes our way, we'll get through it and you never know, we might just even be quite good at it.

The boys got their feet done today.  New feet for the New Year.  Wolfie has been pretty subdued.  He's not really interested in his hay or haylage.  He's still eating his hard feed, but he just seems to be completely bored and fed up.  I need to get him back into some form of work.  Buttons is just Buttons.  It's difficult to put into words little Buttons personality.  He's such a good, nice person.  He certainly knows his family now and is completely secure.  Sometimes at night, I sit in his stable with him, scratching him.  He loves affection and I only stop when he eventually tries to sit on you.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2011.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Merry Christmas from Wolfie and Buttons

I was going to try and get a photograph of the boys together in their hats, but that probably would have turned into complete chaos.

Wolfie is completely bored now.  He's had a break and the novelty has completely worn off, he enjoys being in work and a life in the field doing nothing doesn't suit him.  I took him a little walk yesterday along the tracks in his Dually halter and led him from a lunge line.  He was so happy to be out, even just a little walk in hand.  He was very, very excited and exploded a few times.  I just sent him further out onto the lunge line and let him get it out of his system.  We couldn't go far as it was too icey, but it definitely cheered him up.  I know how he feels.  I'm fed up and want to get back to riding.  I was staring longingly at my saddle the other day.

Wolfie thinking 'If you let me go now, I could gallop up the hill and still be back in time for tea'

I got some money for Christmas and have decided to buy a bitless bridle.  I have absolutely no problem in riding with a bit (as long as it is used correctly) and Wolfie is currently ridden in a bit, but I have always wanted him to be able to work in both.  We do a lot of hacking and I would like to be able to do this bitless.  Although I'd like to do a little of everything with him, including dressage and maybe even some working hunter classes, our main goal is to start competing in Le Trec and we would be able to do this bitless. I've been doing some research into the various types of bitless bridles available and how they work.  I found a website called bitlesshorse which had a few I liked, but at the moment I keep coming back to the Dr Cook. 

Friday, 24 December 2010

The Big Freeze

Apparently December has been the coldest month in Scotland in history.  I can believe that.  Since this weather started, I have been really concerned that the horses haven't been getting enough to drink (alongside the other worries of hard ground, ice etc).  Their water is freezing very quickly and nothing I've tried will stop it.  I've attempted to put an apple in Wolfie's bucket to try and stop it freezing over completely.  The first time I did it, he just submerged his whole head in the water, got the apple at the bottom of the bucket, took it out and ate it.  The second time I tried it, he obviously thought why get wet, and just pawed the bucket till it tipped over and got the apple that way.  I've tried insulating the buckets with straw, but that doesn't make any difference in these temperatures.  I've been making sure the first drink they get when coming in is warm / tepid water.  Ice cold water hitting their stomachs if they are thirsty is not good either.  Studies have shown that horses will choose warm water over cold water in freezing temperatures and will drink more of it.  We are not equipped for winters like this here and the horses are not acclimatised to it either.  The little horse stabled next to Wolfie colicked on Wednesday night.  It was horrendous.  She made it to the vet school and seems to be doing well after surgery, so fingers and toes crossed.  If I was worried before, I'm terrified now.  Increased amounts of time in their stables, less turn out, lack of water, these conditions just predispose to colic and other things.  J. has a massively swollen sheath due to standing in.  We have created a path so the horses have been getting turned out all week, but the conditions in the field aren't good either.  They are getting a lot of hay, so they need access to water all the time.

I went to catch Buttons in one afternoon last week and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him.  He looked like somebody has coated the ends of his coat in icing sugar. The outer layer of his coat was sticking straight out and was frozen.  His beard was frozen solid and he had icicles on his whiskers.  He didn't look cold, but I took my glove off and pressed my hand through all his coat to his body, he was warm.  Obviously why his breed survived on the Shetland Isles whilst the bigger horses didn't.  He's designed to cope with harsh conditions, but saying that he's usually first at the gate wanting into his stable and loves standing in his big deep straw bed munching on his hay.

I really hope this thaws soon.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Elf and happiness

This was last year's Christmas photograph.  The only thing missing is the snow.  We have another costume for this year, but due to the weather and too much snow, we've not been able to take the pictures yet.  Don't they look brilliant?

Kind eye

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Walking on frozen water

Ice is not nice.  The horses have been stuck in their stables as the yard is like an ice rink and too slippy for them to cross.  Wolfie could get to his field from where his stable is situated but none of the other boys can get there.  The girls were turned out in the school today with Buttons for a little while.  I thought I could put Wolfie in his field, even though none of the others were out, he could see the girls.  I turned him out and he went bananas.  Galloping flat out, bucking, spinning, striking out leaping through the air and performing movements the stallions of the Spanish Riding School would have been impressed with.  I thought at one point he was going to jump the fence.   He set the girls off and they were haring around the school.  Buttons was rolling about in the snow and didn't seem to notice the chaos which had errupted around him.  I caught Wolfie and eventually managed to get him back in his stable, him prancing and snorting the whole way .  I waited until the girls were brought in and turned him out in the school.  I don't really like him being in the school as if he starts carrying on, he gets up too much speed for such a small space and doesn't allow enough time to stop before the fence.  He also kicks out and manages to break the fence.  My heart is in my mouth every time he's in there.  He was quite settled in the school, he must have tired himself out with all that galloping around (on the rock hard ground no less).  His speed amazes me.  He isn't really text book built for speed but he can certainly shift.  I remember when I first got him, after he came back from the vet school, he got turned out and was galloping around the field.  The farmer who owned the place Wolfie was kept at was standing watching him and turned to me laughing and said 'did you know you'd bought a racehorse!'.  I hope they get normal turn out again soon or at least some turn out.  Wolfie cooped up in a stable does not make life easy for me.

Having a roll

Pink hills

My Dad kindly drove to me to collect some hay today.  It seems quite good quality, Buttons and Wolfie both seem to have given it the thumbs up, so I'm pleased and it was cheaper than the hay I had been getting.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

It snow funny

What a week.  I don't think I've ever seen snow like this, well here anyway.  Luckily my Dad very kindly let me use his truck all week, meaning I've been able to get to the stables and up the driveway.  If not I'd have had to walk to the stables as the roads were so bad, my car wouldn't have made it.  The truck is great, it doesn't even seem to notice the snow.

The boys have been great.  Wolfie loves the snow and seems almost put out that everyone else doesn't find it as exciting and as much fun as he does.  Buttons doesn't mind it, but it's too deep for him and walking around must be tiring on his little legs, but like everything else he comes across in life, he makes the most of it without complaint.

Waiting on a bus?

I put Buttons and Wolfie in the school today to try and take their photograph, but Wolfie just wanted to play and the snow was way too deep for Buttons to move in, never mind play.

Come back, please play with me!

The snow is practically up to Buttons' belly

Wolfie began to get a bit insistent that Buttons play with him, so I took Buttons out and left Wolfie to play by himself.  I wish my camera was better, he was doing some great vertical bucks, but my camera is too slow to capture them on film.

Everybody loves Buttons
Possibly, the cutest pony in the world
So, no riding.  I don't really mind, it doesn't do any horse, especially a youngster any harm to have a holiday, some time off to recharge physically and mentally.  As long as this doesn't go on too long.  The snow has postponed our plans to get out and about in the trailer, but there's no rush.  I've decided to join the riding club after Christmas.  The boys have been so good and I know I am biast, but I feel very lucky to have such nice horses who are so special in their own individual ways.


Sunday, 28 November 2010

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence......until it snows

I had a good ride on Wolfie last Sunday.  I went up to the yard early, tacked him up and headed down onto the old railway line. He hasn't been down there in a while.  He was very good going along the road, just a little looky.  One of the fields has been turned over and is absolutely covered with potatoes which caused a little spooking and snorting.  There was a clear plastic bag snagged in one of the trees which was rustling in the wind.  He screeched to a halt, head up, neck rock solid and started backing up.  I managed to get him into shoulder in and ride past it with his head and neck flexed slightly in the opposite direction from the 'scarey' bag.  We approached the bridge.  He stopped, but didn't back up.  Now the leaves have fallen from the trees, the visibility is much better.  I managed to walk him to the edge of the bridge and he walked calmly over it.  I've noticed that if I can get him to the egde of the bridge, he will cross it, so it's obviously what he can't see or what he's anticipating on the approach which scares him.  No wonder after all the frights he's had in the past.  He had a couple of silly moments, spooking and leaping sideways at the old bath in the field, ending up procariously near the edge of the river.  No need for that as he's passed that bath loads of times.  He was desperate to get going, normally I would have at least had a few trots, but I knew he was looking for more than trot, the line was busy with people cycling and walking dogs and I didn't want to risk him taking off and barrelling into someone coming around a corner.  That's my own fault, since I started cantering and galloping around the fields towards the end of summer, he seems to think now that we just go everywhere in canter.  With the ground the way it is though, we'll be sticking to walk and he'll soon realise again that we're not going to be hareing around and will settle.  I hope.

The boys got shifted into their winter field during the week.  We weren't given any notice that they were being moved and when I got to the stables on Tuesday night Wolfie was in a comatosed state standing at the back of his stable obviously having gorged himself on an afternoon of grass and he's been like that pretty much all week since.  If I hadn't known that they had been out in that field, I would have been seriously worried about him this week.  I haven't ridden as he's been in no state to go anywhere and not to mention the increased chances of laminitis and colic.  Although there's not much goodness in the grass now and they will have it eaten in a couple of weeks, a horse like Wolfie can't be exposed to it.  He knows what it is like to be hungry, although it was early on in his life, he hasn't forgotten and he will just eat and eat until he's fit to burst.  When I got Wolfie, he had spent a winter surviving on gorse bush, his teeth were all worn completely unevenly from trying to eat it.  He's a bit more relaxed about it now, but it takes thought and management to ensure he has enough to eat to stop him becoming stressed and destructive without overloading him with calories.  So in a way, I was glad to see the 3 inches of snow which fell on Saturday night.  That should kill the grass and whilst it is lying it makes it harder for the horses to get at any grass underneath it.  My mission this year is to slim Wolfie right down before heading into summer.  He's clipped and only wears a rain sheet during the day.  He's on completely soaked hay with just a fibre hard feed and a balancer.  He was on the right track up until last week and had already started to drop a little weight.  Hopefully we can get back on track soon.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

To tow, or not to tow, that is the question

To tow.  I sat my trailer towing test today and ................ passed!  I did the intensive course which consisted of 2 full days training on Tuesday and Wednesday and a couple of hours this morning before my test.  I've never done a course like this before, when I took my driving lessons it was over a number of weeks, months even.  They don't call it intensive for nothing.  I feel mentally and physically exhausted now.  The driving was okay from the start, it was just the reversing.  The reversing manouvere you have to do in the test is pretty difficult (well for someone like me it is).  I was pretty nervous before hand, to be honest I would have been gutted if I'd failed, but it went without a hitch.  I wasn't going to do it, as I felt I couldn't have taken the knock if I had failed.  I'm glad I have done it, even though it was expensive, it's given me a lot more confidence and self belief in myself and my driving and that Wolfie will be in safe hands out on the roads.  The instructor said my driving was very good and now that I can reverse (sort of)  I'd like to keep it up, as it will only improve now with practice.  The people who run the yard have a trailer that can be used.  It doesn't make many trips (really only if anyone has to make the unfortunate journey to the vet school) and the brakes have seized on it.  Just my luck as soon as I pass my test.  However, once it's back in action, I think Wolfie and I will be looking out the travelling gear and making a little road trip.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Wolfie -eating

It actually stopped raining today.  The weather has been unbelievable all week, but the sun came out today and I managed to get Wolfie out for a little hack.  I had planned to go along the road and down onto the line, but once I got on, Wolfie felt a little too sharp, so I decided to stay around the fields.  He was okay, he felt very happy to be out, but was very spooky and on his toes.  I eventually let him gallop up one of the fields to see if that would take the edge of him.  Hmmm he put in two massive bucks and squealed, raced to the top and then shied violently at some plastic containers piled up at the sheep pens.  He's pretty ambidextrous, he doesn't have a favoured side for leaping 4 foot in the air sideways.  He's perfected it in both directions.


I love Wolfie's ears

Cozy in his stable
He's like a giant teddy bear
On Friday, Buttons and the mares got moved into their winter field.  When I went to catch Buttons in, he was at the furthest away corner of the field.  There is a stream that divides the field, it had completely burst its banks, was really deep and flowing really fast after all the rain.  I thought Buttons must have crossed it before it had got so deep and I began to panic thinking he had got himself marooned.  I led him over to the stream, thinking we were going to have to carry him across or build him a bridge.  He paced the edge of it for a while and then all of a sudden took a massive leap and cleared it.  For such little legs, he can really jump.  He then carried on marching down the field with me trailing behind him as though he did that every day.  He's so funny.  He's so matter of fact, he calls a spade a spade,  The only time he gets ruffled is when his dinner is late.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail

I don't know if it's officially winter yet, but it certainly feels like it's on its way.  The horses have been stabled at night for a couple of weeks now and I'm getting back into a mucking out routine.  Every night I give Buttons a lovely warm straw bed with big bankings and before I've even left the yard, he's demolished it and piled it all up against one wall.  He's like a giant hamster.  He's appreciating being in at night though.  I clipped Wolfie mid October before they came in at night.  I'll need to do it again soon as his coat is growing back fast, obviously trying to keep himself warm!  He was good to clip in that he has absolutely no fear of the clippers now but he's a fidget.  Straight lines on him are impossible.  He also has so many whorls on his coat and it doesn't lie in the same direction anywhere.  It's not the neatest of clips, but it will do.  I was clipping on my own so I wasn't able to get right under his elbows at his front legs, I would definitely need someone to help me otherwise he'd probably clunk me on the head with a foot.
The horses are both eating me out of house and home, Wolfie in particular.  Just had the good news that the livery charges are going up and we're to be charged for having the muck from the stables taken away.  On top of the ridiculous price of hay and feed, will it ever end.
The rain has been torrential this past week, combined with me having a really horrible cold I decided to give Wolfie a week's holiday last week. I've managed to get him into the school a couple of nights this week for twenty minutes with the sole purpose of trying to get him used to the flood lights.  He's been pretty good, it's been windy and cold, but apart from leaping into the air at his own shadow every few minutes, he's been okay.  We've even managed a little trot, a very fast, out of control extended trot, but it's a start.  As soon as he's settled in the school I want to concentrate on bending laterally and lots of suppling exercises.  He finds the school difficult as any issues he has with stiffness and bending laterally in there are due to him being unbalanced because he is young, green and not yet developed.  His leg yielding has came on and the shoulder in is coming on. I'm thinking of beginning to introduce travers, just to use them all as exercises for warming up and down and freeing up his shoulders and back.  Plus it's something else to do to break up the monotony of endless circles which Wolfie hates. 

The boys got their feet done tonight.  their next shoeing is on the 23rd December.  I can't believe Christmas is only 6 weeks away, I'm not looking forward to it.  I wish I could be like a bear, go to sleep and wake up again in the Spring.

Monday, 27 September 2010

A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character

I loose schooled Wolfie today and put him over a couple of jumps.  He didn't really 'get' the loose schooling thing to start with ane used it as an excuse to gallop flat out, perform sliding stops and turns that any reining rider would admire and his usual flying corkscrew bucks.  I wish I could have filmed it, but I couldn't keep an eye on him (incase he did anything too silly) and film at the same time.  He settled after about 10 minutes and he trotted and cantered around.  I put out a few poles and he cantered over them.  I put up a small cross pole and he jumped it nicely on both reins.  I then put it up to a little straight bar.  He wasn't paying attention as he came in to it and obviously expected it to still be the cross pole.  He clattered it with his front legs.  He was well booted up, but when he came back around he cleared it by about two feet.  I was seriously impressed with him today.  He was picking up the correct canter leads on both reins and the couple of times he went onto the wrong leg on the left rein, he corrected himself.  He looked so strong and powerful.  The jump was pretty tiny, but he was careful, bold and it seemed effortless to him.  I've always thought when I've seen him jumping in the field that he makes a nice shape, but I've never seen him jump any great height.  I've always thought he was naturally better on the flat, but today made me rethink.  He was working things out for himself and was getting himself out of any difficulties which is really encouraging.  The one time I put him over a cross pole last year, he was good, but seemed a bit clumsy and not too sure what he was doing with his legs and feet. Today, it was a different horse jumping.  I was so proud of him.  He's been brought on very slowly, due to various reasons, but it might have been better this way.  He's certainly much more able to cope with things mentally now as well as physically.  He made me feel excited today, I need to get a body protector, I want to jump.

M and J are back from the vet school and on box rest.  C is back in the field, so there is three of them out at night, but Wolfie seems to be tired when he comes in and looks as though he's been awake most of the night.  I'm not sure who's in charge at the moment, Wolfie seems to be creating chaos and herding the others around.  Today, he was lying down sleeping in his stable, you rarely see him doing that.

Buttons has got a little rain scald.  I was surprised, but I can only think it's because it was so wet last week, and once he gets that wet, because of his thick coat, it takes a long time for him to fully dry out.  He has a got a field shelter, but the rain was torrential last week.  If I put his rain sheet on at the moment he would be too warm. They'll be in over night soon.

Fuzzy wuzzy what was he?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

More haste, less speed

Here comes Wolfie.  The video below shows the way Wolfie likes to get about the field.  That's quite a sedate pace for him.  The video function on my camera isn't great, so it's not really in focus, but it was a practice to see if I could upload a video.  And I did it!  My sister has kindly loaned me her video camera.  I really want to get some videos of me schooling Wolfie, to self critique and also to use as a comparison later on.  I just need to talk very nicely to my sister now to see if she will video us.

I'm glad to say that Wolfie has redeemed himself since his performance as a flying circus horse last week.  We've hacked and schooled a couple of times.  I worked him over poles and he was great.  Really stretching for them and using his back and being very careful.  I'm thinking more and more about starting to jump him.  I think he would enjoy it and it would also be a break from schooling and flatwork over winter.  Firstly though, I need to get a new body protector.  Can't afford not to be sensible and if all else fails I can always wear it on windy days.

I schooled today.  Since we got the saddle and Wolfie has been back in work consistently, although I have been schooling a little more (maybe once a week now), I have only really been working in walk and trot.  I canter in the fields, but the school we have is so small when he is still unbalanced.  Previously he has struggled with the right canter lead.  Today, however I cantered on the left rein, just once.  I was going to leave it at that, but then decided to try the right rein.  He bounced into canter on the correct right lead and actually felt quite balanced (more balanced than he actually did on the left rein).  The difference, I actually rode the transition properly, riding deep into the corner and set him up for it.  I was so pleased with him.  As usual, as soon as we started thinking about canter and canter transitions, the trot work improved.   If he makes mistakes, they are green mistakes. I get frustrated at myself when I know that things are down to rider error and me not being effective.  Things are starting to come together, it's very rough around the edges and not entirely consistent, but with more schooling over winter, I think he will come on leaps and bounds.  He still needs to learn to relax more and soften his jaw, but that will come. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

In 'Alice Through The Looking-Glass' by Lewis Carroll, who kept falling off his horse?

The White Knight.  When it stopped, he fell off forwards, when it walked on, he fell off backwards and every now and then he fell off sideways.

I fell off Wolfie yesterday.  It's the first time I've came off him but I'm sure it won't be the last.  The weather has been horrendous the last two days.  Yesterday, it was very strong winds with intermittent heavy rain showers.  I decided to ride in the school due to the wind and I thought if the rain came on heavy we could just abandon it.  I got on and he was spooking at everything at the outside of the school fence.  The noise of the wind was loud and buckets were blowing around and a few of the jump wings clattered over.  We were walking on the right rein, when a piece of felt on top of the old sheep shed blew up as we were passing it.  That was just the excuse Wolfie needed.  He leapt 6 foot sideways and started bucking.  I lost a stirrup but he stopped and for a second I thought that was it.  However, something clattered and he took off at a gallop around the school doing flying leaps and corkscrew bucks.  By about the third one I had lost both my stirrups and knew the inevitable was coming.  We parted company and I landed at the opposite end of the school from Wolfie.  As I was sitting in the soaking wet school checking that I was still in one piece, Wolfie had the good grace to trot over to me and snuffle my hat.  He was looking at me as if to say ' why did you get off and why are you sitting down there?'  I stood up took a deep breath and forced myself to smile.  What else can you do?  I brushed myself down, checked Wolfie over and got back on.  I worked him in a little more in walk and trot, constantly keeping his attention focused on what we were doing and not what was going on around him.  I kept him off the track, changing the rein, circles, serpentines, transitions, continually half halting and balancing him.  I had him between my leg and hand and made sure I had control over every one of his feet and where it was being placed.  There's nothing quite like getting bucked into next year and hitting the ground with a bump to make you start riding effectively.  Wolfie went really nicely.  I brought him back to walk and we worked on leg yielding and shoulder fore.  I've been working him ridden in shoulder fore as he doesn't require so much bend and have been continuing introducing and starting shoulder in from the ground.  He finds it much easier to flex and bend to the left and leg yield moving to the right than to push and cross over with his off hind, leg yielding to the left with right bend.  We have been working on this and he is getting stronger at it.    I ended it there and gave him a big pat.  He is very spooky and can be difficult in the wind and I probably should have lunged him before I got on.  Note to self.  Get a hammer and nail down the felt on the roof of the sheep shed.  

I wish someone had been there to see it.  I'd like to have known just how high those bucks were.  I've seen him in the field and know what he is capable of.  It felt like his back feet were going to touch my head.  I'm feeling the effects of it today and feel like I've been hit by a truck.


It feels like winter.  Wolfie has been rugged the last two days.  I really debated over whether to do it.  I always feel that they are rugged for so long over winter, the longer you leave it before starting to rug the better.  However, the rain on Monday was just too torrential and the wind was biting.  Wolfie doesn't have much shelter in his field so I've put his summer sheet on.  It took a lot of persuasion to get Wolfie down to the field on Monday night.  Just as I had convinced him that he should go to the field, the rain started hitting us front on as well as from behind and the side.  Wolfie made the rest of the trip to the field walking backwards as he refused to walk into the sheeting rain.  I don't blame him.  It's about this time of year that Wolfie starts voicing his opinion that he doesn't want to be put back in the field at night, he doesn't feel there is enough to eat down there, the weather is miserable and he'd rather stay in his stable.  Wolfie came in for winter on the 20th October last year.  Wonder if he'll last till then this year.  I'm fairly organised for winter.  I had to replace Wolfie's rugs again this year as he's gone up another size, but I've been collecting them over summer and have managed to pick up a few good bargains on new rugs from EBay.  They are not the nicest of colours, but they are the make that I was looking for and at less than half price I can't complain.  They all end up covered in mud anyway.  Buttons has a new lightweight turnout and a little fleece rug to dry him off when he's in the stable.  Wolfie could probably do with another turnout and I had wanted to get him a heavy weight stable rug in case it gets as cold as it did last winter but I have enough lighter weight ones to layer the rugs if necessary.

I think Wolfie's also feeling a bit unsettled as M and J are at the vet school and C is on box rest due to an infected cut on his leg.  That leaves just 3 including Wolfie in the field and I think he's feeling a little out of sorts.  I hope they all get better soon.

                                                                Forever Friends

 Wolfie isn't the gentlest of horses.  He's affectionate in his own way, but he's sharp and has a dominant personality and a very intelligent mind.  Saying that he seems to sense that Zoe is small and he has to be more careful around her.  They are both 5 now and he has known her since they had both just turned 2.  He recognises her walking up the road and always gallops over to see her.  He is even gentle when taking food from her. 

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Up, Up and Away

My Sunday hacks with Wolfie are turning into a weekly event.  I'm trying to make the most of the weather and the daylight before winter.  Today we rode up the hills which are behind the stables. 

We were headed for the trees at the skyline

It's pretty much uphill all the way and some parts are quite steep.  There are some good tracks though and the ground was good today.

We passed this old ruin of a house.  It would be nice and peaceful living all the way up here!

We headed passed the ruin and had a good canter along a nice long, pretty flat track.  The views were stunning.

The Campsies
Wolfie admiring the view (and the grass!)

You can just see in the photograph above, a track through the bracken.  That's where we were headed.

The hill

The track doesn't look like much, but it is really, really steep.  At the top part it almost looks vertical.  You would have to gallop up it.  It's one of those ones where the horses legs are moving but they aren't actually getting anywhere.  I didn't attempt it today.  Wolfie seemed up for it, but he'd hacked uphill for over an hour to get there.  I don't feel he's quite strong or fit enough yet to attempt it and I definitely don't want to get stuck half way up it.  We will do it some day as there's a whole other world over the top of that hill.

Blog wouldn't be complete without a picture of Wolfie's very expressive ears.

Wolfie bounced all the way back downhill and home.  He kept taking off into canter randomly for no reason.  He's definitely getting fitter and his recovery times are improving, but that was hardwork for him today.  Once we got home I fed him and turned him out.  I spotted him half an hour later lying flat out in the field.  He must have been tired.  He's such a good horse.

Buttons sleeping in the field (before he was ridden!)

Just woke up

I'm coming

Zoe came up to ride today and we went out for a walk to pick some rose hips for the horses. Buttons was very good, but he was feeling the heat, it was very warm and he's got a very thick coat already.  Just as we were almost home, he stopped dead in his tracks, I turned around to see him lie down.  He went down and he just kind of looked at me, I growled at him and he got back up on his feet.  He obviously was feeling itchy and sweaty under his numnah and thought he would just go for a roll, forgetting he had a rider on board.  He was wearing a thick wooly numnah and when I took the saddle off he was very sweaty underneath.  That's such a pony thing to do.  Zoe was very good and didn't panic although she did say that she thought the two of them were going to roll down the hill!  

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Open Wide

The boys had their visit from the dentist today.  Buttons was very good (considering how bad he was last year).  Obviously he was a lot more comfortable in his mouth this time, but it was almost as if he realised that it would actually help him.  He just got the sharp edges taken off.  The dentist has to kneel down to do Buttons so fortunately he kept his front feet on the floor for the most part this time.  The dentist even agreed that Buttons reputation as a Shetland pony proceeds him, but he might just be the one that broke the mould as he's very good really.

Wolfie was also very good, it always amazes me how good he is with the dentist considering how bad he is with the vet.  But then, I suppose I've always used the same dentist since I got Wolfie and he's always been very kind to him and never given him a bad experience.

Waiting patiently for the Dentist

Getting the gag on

Wolfie had quite a lot of rough edges and ridges, but just due to him being young and the teeth still changing.  He still has two canines at the top which haven't yet erupted and the dentist said that could still take another year.  Slow maturing.

His lower canines are different sizes and it was his right canine which took the brunt of the kick to his face.  However, it appears to have came through and although a strange shape and much bigger than the other one, it's not causing a problem and the dentist said it was healthy enough.  He hand rasped it down a little bit.  All in all he said Wolfie had a nice set of teeth.

Clever Boy

I was very pleased with how both boys behaved today.  It was straight forward and easy for everyone involved.  I use Mark Twigg from Beith, Ayrshire and would whole heartedly recommend him to anyone looking for an equine dentist.  He is very good and also very calm, considerate and kind with the horses (he also slackens the gag every time he stops working even for short periods which I like).  I have great confidence in his ability and he is able to spot problems.  He does my two routinely every 9 months which he hopes should pick up any problems emerging.