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.