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The first real day and I didn’t even die!

September 29, 2009

I went to the barn again last night.  Well, it wasn’t really nighttime yet – it was about 2 hours away from sundown.  But anyway, I went to the barn yesterday (surprised?).

Poor Cass was stuck in anther muddy dry lot :( but since it has been sunny and warm since the storm, we hope it will dry up soon enough.  Part of it has actually mostly dried; this is where Cass was standing while attempting to stretch his neck and reach the grass just past the fenceline.  He refused to move his feet because they might get muddy – and Mr Prissy Feet cannot have that!

Unless, of course, he thinks you may have a cookie, in which case he will whinny and start to quickly walk/attempt to trot without slipping over to you at the gate (which is at the opposite end of the lot).  Then, when he finds out that you have not brought him so much as a peppermint, he will pretend to be sniffing at your pockets while he really is trying to knock you over in the mud.

Have I mentioned that he has been very space-rude?  Like walking in my space or trying to rub on me all the time or being very pushy in his treats searching with his head?  If I haven’t, he is.  He used to have such nice ground manners too :(

I really, really need to buy a camera because…well, just so I can take photos, duh.  Like of how gross and muddy his legs were or how Cass could now care less about cross ties but really, really wants to bite the pony that was standing next to him’s butt, or the faces he made after I wormed him.

The girl next to me had a scrapey thing in the shape of a flower.  It was very easy for her to get the mud off of her (huuuuuge 17.2-3) horse.  I need one of those too.  I ended up using a stiff bristle brush very creatively to get it off because the curry just wasn’t doing it.  The goal was to try Cass in polos today since I can’t find his boots, but I just couldn’t get his legs clean enough to not have dirt rub.  I am going to have to wash them which will be a waste since every morning he goes right back out to the ushy gushy mud.  So he didn’t get his purple polos today (I should really buy stuff that matches! – purple polos, red halter, green lead, blue brushes except for one green one, a green saddle pad, brown galloping boots, a blue sheet, a purple blanket, and a greyish blanket)

In between attempting to clean his legs off (it was hard work!) I worked on trimming his mane up.  Because, although it took over a year for it grow out enough to disguise his rubbed out/chewed up spot, it grew about 6-8″ in two months!  I decided to make it a bit shorter than I wanted it in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to do it for a while and also so that is would be all sticky uppy because I love horses with sticky uppy manes!


Awwww, it's a little fluffy dressage pony!

Unfortunately for Cass, my trimmer snapped about halfway through – so now he has short (and not even fluffy, hmph) mane on the bottom half of his neck and long and flowy up top.  Ooops.  Oh well, people still kept saying “ooh, he’s so preeety” while I was grooming him so perhaps it isn’t too noticeable.  You know, even though I caught one lady whisper-asking Cass what I had done to him.  It was an accident, I promise!  It will be fixed ASAP – I have even added a trimmer thing to my list!

I gave up on his legs halfway through (one hour later and with just the fronts done) and decided to longe Cass before going back for the rear legs.  So I pulled out my brand new, never been used before, tags still on longe line and …. discovered it was only about 12 feet long.  What kind of longe line is that?  I have lead ropes nearly that long!

Whatever, it’s all I have right now so it will have to work.  It was fine for the most part, although there wasn’t a whole lot of room for circle size variation.  Cass didn’t mind though – he was being perfect.  Really, he was stretching and snorting and being pretty relaxed.  We were in the indoor which he has never seen before.  He had never even seen an indoor before!  He wasn’t as swingy and free as he could be, but he rarely gets like that on the longe anyway and he definitely wasn’t tense at all.

Everything was going perfectly, short longe and all, until I asked him to canter.  Cass went into it willingly enough, but he couldn’t keep it up.  He looked like he had gotten super lame all of the sudden so I had him walk (which he transitioned to almost instantly!) and he looked fine.  Hmm, weird.  Trrrrrot!  Normal still.  Canter!  Lame looking again.  Strange, especially since he didn’t have any ouchy spots or anything that I had found today.

Since he looked normal otherwise, my guess is that a) he can’t canter very well on so short a longe because b) he was just starting to get balanced on the 22′ one at the other barn and c) he seems to have lost all of that muscle in the 2 months I have been gone.  So he is just physically unable to canter that small of a circle right now because he looks pretty normal out cantering the lot (although it is hard to tell because of the mud).  He is probably also a little sore from all that hard work in the mud and his really long trailer ride.

At least, I hope that is all it is.

I longed him for another 5 minutes (total was only around 20 minutes) and was going to finish grooming him.  Except all of the crossties were taken and I don’t completely trust him enough to tie him normally right now since I don’t have a breakaway and, even though he has been amazing, something in this new barn/new state/new everything could very easily spook him.  So I took him for a scenic stroll around the property.  We looked down all the barn aisles and talked to a few of the friendlier horses.

We passed the barn owner and she said to quit walking so slow and to go somewhere with a purpose, not wait for Cass and giving him time to look at things as we pass.  I practiced as we passed a tractor and a pile of soon to be XC jumps logs, both of which Cass looked at but didn’t have time to give the llama neck or a spook.  Then back down the barn isle and out into this part that even I think is scary –  there is a pathway, about five feet wide, with 3.5′ tall reeds and grasses growing on either side of it.  In about 7-10 more feet you get out to a clearing and a few more pastures, and the “pond” (it should be a lake, I think!).  Cass was iffy about the wall o’ veggies, but walked through it anyway.  He was just perfect once we were actually out and couldn’t have cared less about the scary wind in the trees and log pile (he used to always spook at the log pile at the other barn) and just wanted to eat the yummy grass.

Where has my scaredy horse gone?  And where has this one who hasn’t fully spooked once come from?

Not that I am complaining, of course.

By this time, a cross tie had opened up so I ripped Cass away from his beloved grass (and, yes, I do mean ripped – all his ground manners have disappeared, remember?) and went to go finish grooming him.  I wormed him also, a week early, but he looked like he kind of needed it.

His feet are terrible, I think.  I don’t really know since I have only ever seen his feet how they look in desert conditions, but his frog is really tiny and short and his bulbs seem smushier than normal and he has two “flakes” coming out from the backs of each of his four feet.  I have to find out when the barn’s farrier is coming out so I can ask him.  If it is within the next week or two, I will wait since I have a tendency to overreact about feet.  I am also going to start rainmaker-ing them since it is so wet here.

Because of his now-weird looking feet, I started to second guess my previous can’t canter just because he is on a short longe with no muscles theory and began to wonder if something really was wrong.  Since I obviously wasn’t seeing it, I decided to see if I could feel it.

So I went and put on his bridle and got on him bareback.

Now, if I had been thinking about more than hebetternotbelamehebetternotbelamhebatternotbelame, I probably would have realized that it is kind of a stupid, Darwin award wannabe thing to do to get up on your still mostly green and pretty hot young Arabian after a two month vacation.  While in a brand new place where there are possibly very scary things and it is chilly and there is a high wind advisory in effect.  Without a saddle or a helmet while the barn owner’s 4 year old plays a very loud game of hide and seek, in which he screams every time someone finds him, which is often since he is blonde and never fully hides the top of his head.

Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have gotten on him if I had thought about all of that.

But I didn’t think about it, so I got on sans saddle and started to walk him around the arena.  I have never felt more like I was riding saddleseat.  I had never seen a saddleseat rider before moving here, but now I see them almost everyday and Cass felt like one of the vertical necked horses.  Apparently the arena was much more interesting with someone on his back then it was when he was being longed.  He still wasn’t spooking at anything, but he was being much more aware.

He felt completely normal though.  It was hard to fully tell because his neck was causing his strides to be pretty short, but it felt pretty much like llama neck always feels on him.  In his first few steps that I was on him he kicked out a little.  Like, really little.  Where if it wasn’t dark out I would have thought a fly landed on him or something and it was itchy.  And that was the extent of his bad behaviour.

Well, mostly.  He kept being like “can we trot?” No. “please?” No. “pleeeeeeease?” No. “Now can we trot?” No. “Now?” No. “Now?” No. “Noooow?!” But he never actually did trot and listened when I told him not to.

I was only on him for about five minutes and he was distinctly less llama at the end, although still not a relaxed headset.  And he definitely hadn’t felt/acted lame at all.

He got lots of cookies after, and his sheet put on and then he got to go eat his dinner in his stall.  Such a good little horsie :)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2009 11:35 pm

    I love your posts. And I now have a name for the neck thing that Gracie does. Llama neck..perfect! I’m glad you finally have you pony home and wish you happy XC trails! My Arab is also a Greenie and I don’t have the balls that you do!! WELCOME HOME CASS!

    • September 30, 2009 1:10 pm

      Llama neck!

      • Heather permalink
        September 30, 2009 1:20 pm

        Haha…can I add this to Gracies blog? (The Llama pic) What a great visual!


        • September 30, 2009 1:25 pm

          Go ahead – it’s not my photo :) I just stole it from Oklahoma State. I hope they will consider it an educational reference and also free advertisement

  2. September 30, 2009 10:43 am

    Hello and thanks for stopping by our blog! Welcome to the club of we-are-trying-to-even-remotely-resemble-eventers! LOL — the journey is so much fun and the highs far outweigh the frustrations!

    • September 30, 2009 1:14 pm

      I think it might be awhile before I get my acceptance letter to the club of we-are-trying-to-even-remotely-resemble-eventers – right no, we are still trying for the club of good-ground-manners-at-all-times-even-in-spooky-places-and-please-do-not-buck-me-off-while-you-refuse-that-jump! We’ve got a ways to go :)

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