Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

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

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Went for a wander

The weather has been lovely over the past week (actually too warm for me, but I better not complain about it). Today when I went up to the stables it was raining and showing no sign of clearing up. By the time I had finished mucking out, the rain still hadn't gone off, but I had planned to hack Wolfie and didn't want the weather to stop us. I put on my waterproofs and we headed off. We headed up to the Castle and into the forestry. Wolfie was very keen and happy to be out. We explored some of the trails that I had walked on foot. We found a nice long canter track and found a few more paths that I want to explore. I knew there was a way back down onto a different road at the castle, but I've never walked it. We followed one track in the direction of the road, we ended up in a small forest, I got off as I couldn't really see where the path was going. It ended up leading onto a very steep, muddy hill. I didn't go down it as I didn't know where it would finish at the bottom and I figured me and Wolfie would end up sliding down on out bottoms! I ended up pretty much having to go home the way I came so I will have to back up on foot and have a look. I like to ride loops and vary the way out and the way home. Wolfie was very good. He seems to get a bit spooky and upset when I get off and lead him from the ground, I'm not quite sure why as he settles as soon as I get back on. Maybe it's because he's not used to me being on the ground in unfamiliar surroundings and feels more secure with his rider on top. I'll try and get off a bit more and lead him intermittently whilst we are out to try and build his confidence. There is a way up to the castle which would cut about 1 mile, maybe more off the trip. There is a public right of way, which goes past a house which sits next to the railway line. I have never used it as you have to pass through the garden of the house. It is however a right of way and would allow for more time up in the forestry so I think I'm just going to use it. I'm keeping my eye out all the time for any little logs which we could have a little jump over. Again today, he negotiated all sorts of different terrain. Stepping over any logs or obstacles on the path. Sometimes in marshy or muddy areas, he doesn't know before stepping over if it's 6 inches or 6 foot deep, but he is very brave about it. We covered almost 14km today. Wolfie really was born to do this type of work. He is a cheeky, mischevious character, but he is very, very honest. On days like today, my heart bursts with pride at him. I'm lunging him once a week in side reins or long reining and doing a little in hand work. I'm schooling once or twice a week. I find the school we have difficult to ride Wolfie in. The surface is very deep and Wolfie has never liked it. It's a small school and the fence leans inwards (I know!) meaning you almost have to use the three quarter line as the outside track to prevent getting knee capped on the fence, and in turn this lessens the limited space there is already. Walk and trot is doable but canter is impossible at the moment. I have rarely cantered him in there as it is so small. He is unbalanced, which encourages him to speed up. One of the girls at the yard hit the nail on the head the other day by saying his canter was just too big for the school. At the moment it is. He has a huge stride and he only just gets a few strides, doesn't even get a chance to establish any rythmn and the corner appears and neither he or I are prepared for it. A balanced horse would manage but I am leaving canter at the moment until lambing is over and I can ride in the fields again. I would much rather school in a flatter part of one of the fields.

Some photographs of the forestry today

Friday, 22 April 2011

Who's been sleeping in my bed?

When I got to the yard yesterday, I had a strange feeling that someone was there, even though I was the only person and all the horses were in the fields. I was walking down to Wolfie's stable when a little head popped out of Wolfie's stable doorway.

The stable door had been left open and the sheep must have found a bit of shade from the sun inside the stable.

Zoe came up last week to help me muck out and Buttons had his first ride of the year (and since his laminitis). Both Zoe and Buttons thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Only Wolfie was put out as he didn't get to go.

Wolfie has been demolishing buckets again. I've had to chuck two in the last few weeks. I don't know how he does it, but he manages to turn them completely inside out.

Wolfie has been working consistently since my last post and I'll blog in more detail soon. I'm on holiday for a week so I'm hoping to get a lot of riding done, starting with a long hack tomorrow. The horses should be going out 24 /7 for summer a week today. It's been a long time coming. Personally I think they should have been out weeks ago, but it's not my decision. I need to sort out some electric fencing for Buttons as he won't be going straight into the summer field straight away. I also need to order him a grazing muzzle (I'm not sure if it will work, am almost certain he will get it off in minutes but feel it is worth a go) and get various fly sprays etc. I'm thinking of getting Wolfie a full face and muzzle fly mask which also keeps a lot of the UV rays out. As he has such a pink muzzle he gets sun burned really easily. If I put sun cream on him he usually rubs it off within minutes on the nearest object, which is normally me.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Clocking up the miles

Now that there is more daylight, I have been able to get Wolfie out and work him for longer. On Monday and Tuesday we hacked. Wednesday he had a rest day, I lunged him in side reins on Thursday and we hacked Friday, Saturday and today. I've introduced more trot and yesterday and today we had a couple of canters. Wolfie is absolutely thriving on the work. He has been outstanding this week. Wolfie is evidently a horse that needs work and lots of it. He really has been a pleasure and great fun to be with. He's been hacking with different horses from the yard, boldly crossing the 'scarey' bridge, and really striding out. Wolfie has one of the most amazing walks I've ever felt in a horse. We've been averaging 5 miles per hack and varying our routes. I'll continue to increase his workload as he gets fitter and introduce more schooling. I'll keep introducing more trot and canter and extend the distance on the hacks we mainly walk on and add more hillwork. I really want to keep it varied for him. I've got an app on my phone which measures the distance we are covering. I really want to get back up into the forrestry, but I'd like him to be a bit fitter before going up. It's a fair distance to get there and if I want to do some faster work whilst I'm up there I want him to be prepared. I've been up on foot and have a good idea of some good tracks. Some of it is quite rough terrain and a tired horse is more likely to make a mistake or end up injured. I just need to continue to monitor his recovery times and he will let me know how he is feeling. Yesterday I was hacking with another girl from the yard. We met J. and C on route returning from their hack. I wondered if Wolfie would try and nap back towards the other horses heading for home, but no, he barely gave them a second glance as he continued on. We have been hacking with other horses, and today is the first time I've hacked on my own for a while. I wondered again if he would notice or be funny about it, but no, I got on and he marched off without hesitation. I'm definitely feeling the effects more than wolfie. I'm shattered. The horses are still in, so I'm still mucking out at night as well. But it's defintely worth it as I'm already seeing the benefits.