Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

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

Sunday, 27 February 2011

When dreams don't come true

I rode Wolfie today.  He's only been ridden once over the last week, due to the weather and me being very unmotivated.  It was a nice day and I had planned to go along the road onto the line.  However, within minutes of getting on I realised he was way to fresh and changed my mind and headed up the hill.  He was looking at everything and leaping sideways, but he didn't back up or try and spin.  We passed a bonfire which was crackling and the wind kept changing and blowing the smoke in different directions.  He stopped a couple of times, but then walked forward when asked.  Very brave.  We went further up the hill than we've been recently.  We haven't been up there since last year and we used to canter quite a lot.  He took off with me a couple of times and when I pulled him up, he stuck his head between his knees and bucked.  I know the only answer to this is to ride him every day.  He was happy to be out.


Lidl had some horse stuff in last week.  I got a summer sheet, a fly rug, a set of travelling boots and a set of stable bandages for about twenty quid.  I don't know how long they will last, but seeing as Wolfie wrecks the good quality stuff he gets, it doesn't really matter.  I'm really pleased with them, particularly the travelling boots, I ended up going back and getting another set and another summer sheet.  Wolfie has never worn travelling boots before.  He was walking in them like he was on the moon.

Wolfie modelling his travelling boots

One of his summer sheets

Pretty boy

Just randomly, a picture of Wolfie's hind quarters.  He has one little patch that has stayed brown (the colour all his markings were when he was a foal).

Buttons is back on full day turn out.  We've had persistent heavy rain for the last couple of weeks which has evidently washed or leached all the sugars from the grass.  He is keen to get out but also keen to get back in and eat his soaked hay.  Wolfie is eating more at the moment than he has all winter.

I went to catch Buttons in today and he was sun bathing.


It's a case now of monitoring Buttons very carefully, especially with the spring grass coming through.  I'm basically taking each day as it comes with him with regards to his turn out and keeping a very close eye on him.  I'm still contemplating the grazing muzzle.  I've read that speedi beet helps to regulate the acid balance in the hind gut and can be fed to laminitics before turn out to fill them up a bit before going on the grass.  The horses are craving greenery.  I'm thinking of getting them some herbs online to add to their feed, including rosehips etc.  I'm still trawling through the ingredients on the backs of feed backs, it's amazing how much 'hidden' sugars there are.  Buttons isn't getting fed anything that hasn't been approved by the laminitis trust.

Monday, 7 February 2011

This and That

My bitless bridle arrived.  I'm very pleased with it.  I tried it on Wolfie yesterday and had a little sit on him in the school with it on.  It's a full size, and does come up quite big, but the Cob size definitely wouldn't have fitted across the brow band or nose band.  It's really lovely soft leather.  He was very responsive to it, we were only walking, but once we start schooling some more, I will be able to see better how it sits and make any adjustments to the fitting.  I enjoyed riding in it and Wolfie seemed quite pleased with the fact that he could still ram mouthfuls of hay into his mouth without it getting tangled around his bit.  I'm looking forward to riding in it.

We went out for a hack with H and J yesterday.  That's the first time Wolfie has been ridden in a week.  He was quite fresh and had a couple of minor spooks, but nothing major.  He was very forward. We came home along a track which runs next to the river and the road is on the other side of the river.  For some reason this track makes the horses a little joggy and silly.  Wolfie strode along it with his back arched.  He felt like at any second he was going to explode.  I concentrated on trying to get him to stretch down and relax, trying to give him a long rein, staying in walk with a nice long loose stride, keeping his shoulders straight and trying to encourage him to relax through his back.  He was very good and listened and most importantly he didn't errupt into a complete bucking fit.

I really want to get Wolfie into consistent work now.  Not only because I want to get him fit, but also for Wolfie's sake.  He enjoys work and doing something so much.

Buttons is continuing to do well.  He is so good, he even eats his soaked hay with enthusiasm.  It can't be very tasty, having been soaked for over 12 hours, but he seems to like it more if I pour a kettle of hot water over it.  He's starting to moult now.  I think it will be nice for him to get rid of that big coat now, although it has served him well this winter.  It's a petty we couldn't just unzip him and take it off.

I've been trying to look into finding somewhere to hire a trailer.  It's not proving easy in Scotland.  England has loads of places where you can hire them for the entire summer season, for very reasonable prices.  If I hired a trailer from England, I would have to drive down to pick it up and return it.  I've got a list of numbers for places which hire out various types of trailers, so I'll need to call around them and see if they hire horse trailers.  There is a place in the Borders which hires trailers, but they are rear facing trailers.  I participated in a Study into the effects of horses travelling facing the rear when I was at University.  It's supposed to be better for the horse, I just would kind of prefer a front facing trailer.  I think that's just because I am new to towing and I know Wolfie travels well facing the front.  If anyone knows of any places which hire horse trailers in Scotland, please let me know.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind

When I wished that it would rain, I didn't quite mean for this amount of rain and gale force winds - sorry everyone, I don't normally get what I wish for, but this time I got my wish, and some.  When I went out to catch Buttons in this afternoon, I physically couldn't walk up the hill for the wind.  Buttons wasn't giving a hoot about the wind or driving rain and was using it to his advantage to have some more grazing time.

Buttons kidding on he can't see me under all that hair or hear me shouting him over the noise of the wind.

5 more minutes, pleeeeeeeeeeease

Elvis isn't dead!

The weather is wild.  Anything that isn't bolted down at the stables is getting blown around.  Wolfie doesn't like the wind.  He was a bit wound up last night.  Today he was very tired, so I presume he's spent most if not all of the night wide awake due to the howling wind and noises of various things getting blown around.

It's too windy for the horses in Wolfie's block to stick their heads over their doors.  They try it and then promptly retreat back inside.

I've bought a bitless bridle.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

High Mane-tenance

The weather and lack of daylight has ground riding to a halt again this week.  Torrential rain, but I had been hoping for rain for Buttons sake as apparently it 'leaches' out the sugars being stored within the grass.  It all seems to make sense now, from what I've read about freezing temperatures, sugars in the grass and the prolonged very cold and dry winter we've had.  Well, there's been plenty of snow, but very few rain showers.  Never thought I'd hear myself say I wanted it to rain.  Buttons has been getting 2 hours of turnout in the afternoons this week.  He goes out roughly between 12pm and 2pm.  The temperatures have stayed above freezing, but I asked for him to go out around this time, to allow the mares time on the grass before he goes out and to allow the temperature to increase.  If the temperature does go below zero or the ground is hard, I have asked that he be kept in.  I feel that 2  hours is enough for him at the moment, but I do hope to slowly increase his turnout time.  I've also been having a little look into grazing muzzles.  I have never used one and have always been dead set against them, but I have to weigh up what would be best for Buttons.  Extended times being put in his stable to keep him off the grass or the possibility of more turnout time if he wore the grazing muzzle at 'high risk' times and it worked for him.  I had thought about one in the past for Wolfie, but he gets frustrated at haynets, ending up with his feet stuck in them, he definitley wouldn't cope with one, but Buttons I think would be more tolerant.  It's definitely something I have to consider even just to try it.  It might not work for him.  Most articles I've read have said that the majority of horses get used to them and accept them very quickly.  I've looked at the green guard muzzles and also Dinky rugs make muzzles especially for minatures and Shetlands.  I don't like horses being out in the field with headcollars on, so I would need to get the breakaway halter.  Buttons is also a bit of a houdini.  Many a time I have tied him up, gone to get something, came back and his headcollar and leadrope are still where I tied him, but no Buttons.  He can slip his headcollar.  If anyone has used a grazing muzzle, I would appreciate your thoughts.  Good or bad.

Wolfie and I went for a nice hack with H and J on Sunday.  We went along the road and down onto the line.  That's the first time Wolfie has been out on the road and that way since about October.  He was very good.  A bit joggy and bouncey when we first got onto the road, but that was just freshness and anticipation.  As we got onto the line, some trees have been cut down and there were piles of stacked tree trunks.  He had a bit of a spook and J took the lead and we passed them.  Wolfie then walked the line,  really striding along.  We approached the 'scarey' bridge.  He was looking, but he didn't hesitate and stepped straight onto it.  He was walking like he was on hot coals over it and as he stepped back onto the tarmac off the bridge, he spooked himself at the change of sound of his feet on the tarmac as opposed to the wood of the bridge and leapt in the air.  But he was fine and I was so impressed at how he boldly tackled it, no hesitation whatsoever.  He's warey of it, but I really don't think it's going to cause too many problems and his previous bad experiences at the bridge, don't seem to have produced a totally negative response.

I've been choked with the cold this week, simple things such as changing rugs and picking out feet have proved exhausting.  Yesterday I decided to redo the plaits in Wolfie's mane.  Because I see Wolfie every day, his mane always looks the same, but when I do brush it or plait it, I notice that it has actually grown.  The longest part of his mane is now about 1 and 1/2 inches below his point of shoulder.  If I'm honest there are times when it really annoys me, it gets caught in the reins and my fingers and on many occasions I have seriously considered cutting and pulling it, but I know that I would regret it as soon as I had did it.  It's part of him and I love it when it is all clean and brushed.   Not all of them can grow manes that length.  In the summer I leave it and just put a running plait it when I ride.  I'm really only plaiting it just now as he keeps sticking his head in those burr things and even with a full neck rug on, manages to get them tangled everywhere and it's a job and a half to get them out, especially when he doesn't particularly like having his mane brushed.