Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hibernation Over

I am slowly emerging from a horse hibernation. Once I finally let go of getting some serious training done over the winter, I slipped into a complete slumber. I started researching things for the farm for spring (tractors, greenhouses, and soil, oh my!) and I am the type of person that grabs onto a topic and then analyzes it to death (my family says I have Asperger's, I say I am "focused" :) ). So I would occasionally walk by my window, see Brego outside and think, what a handsome horse, I should ride, and then go back to researching green houses. I also got sick and have spent the last 10 days in blissful rest.

Well about two days ago I woke up, startled, about how much we, Brego and I, have to do. We've passed the hump of winter, things are going to get warmer now. We're still in the middle of winter, don't get me wrong, but we're through the coldest and now we have the Great Melt to look forward to and then... glorious Spring and Summer. And then, bam, show after show after show.

I am still assessing how the last month has treated the big guy. I think he got work maybe three or four days. But in a way, this is also part of the plan. Brego ended last season with some big falls and a lingering puffy right hind that he was never off on, but I stressed about it endlessly. I've been watching his legs on his break and they are tight as a drum, the puffiness is gone. So that is an interesting data point.

So now we will begin the slow awakening. It WILL be slow because, I am ashamed to say, the boy is FAT. Not PHAT, like he was cruising around 3' courses last fall. FAT. As in, I have named him Tubby McFatNeck. Putting weight on a TB in the winter has forced a doling out of sweet hay in excess of what Brego probably definitely needed. For the first time in years, I cannot feel ribs on the old mare, and I did it in January. Additionally, I think I blanketed him too much, not knowing how we was going to handle a New Hampshire winter. He handled it just fine, in fact, I've never seen him happier.

So we have a little tubby and he's lost some top line, but in general he looks ok, a little round but not lacking in muscle. He's been turned out every day, and when dry, all day and night. So he's worked his big butt in the 2' deep snow.

Mentally, he feels the same way I do. He's over his break and wants to do something fun. I can tell by the way he rips branches off the trees and carries them in his mouth as he chases and terrorizes my old TB mare. Sometimes I think that boy will never grow up.

Anyway, we're still a good 8 weeks away from Spring, but it will be here before I know it and I have so much to do. Brego will get his annual xrays as soon as I can get the trailer out of the snow. For financial reasons, I am going to forego his front feet and do them on a biannual basis. I will do his hocks though, especially the left which was kicked. His hind end is the weak link in the rigorous training we do and I need to monitor his hocks. I also need to get a chiro out. After two falls and a kick, he is likely to be uneven and stiff. He is also going back on Adequan after a two month break of nothing in his body but good hay, clean water, and a handful of ration balancer twice a day. A chemical cleansing, if you will.

Today, we will go for a nice walk in the woods and do as much low-impact conditioning as I can. Maybe we will drag the skijoring rope as well. I am not starting at zero, but I am going to act as if I am until he proves otherwise. His joints are sacred and will not risk them. When it gets a bit warmer, the neighbor can water the indoor and I can ride in there again. Last time I tried, we quit in 15 minutes. The air was toxic. Then we will be able to work on bending and stretching and getting his top line back.

It's funny how the rhythm of life seeps into your brain. Four weeks ago, I couldn't even imagine getting excited about showing again. Now, I can feel Spring approach and I want nothing more than to spend it on the back of a good horse.


Funder said...

Welcome back! Glad you both got a long rest. Yall deserved it. :)

dp said...

Enjoy your ride! Glad you both got a rest. This is probably a topic for the other blog, but are you composting your manure?

Daun said...

I am composting the manure, both chicken and horse. I use wood pellets as bedding because they break down easier than pine shavings. My compost pile was hastily built when I moved in, and it has suffered this winter. It got too cold. In the spring, I will rebuild it and get it going much better.

And yes, I should probably put together a post on this on the other blog. I've got about 15 things, just don't have the time.

Daun said...

Funder, Thanks! Glad things went better with Dixie. And Yay for Poppy and his ride out!

Bev said...

Jack has been enjoying a round bale quite often this winter. The other day a little girl at the barn watched me riding him in a lesson. As we were trying to display our best form, her comment to me was (and you need to imagine a very smart, earnest, and sweet 10 year old expressing this in her most helpful and observant tone of voice), "Oh, and Bev? Jack is so fat I can see the fat ripple down his side every time you kick him."

Anonymous said...

" can tell by the way he rips branches off the trees and carries them in his mouth as he chases and terrorizes my old TB mare. Sometimes I think that boy will never grow up."

sounds so familiar. I miss my Perch mare so much. I am not sure they ever grow up.