Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

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

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.