Thursday, June 23, 2011

A New Gear

I heard Louie was a naughty horsie when he was turned out this morning.  So I told him he was going to get a hard workout today.  Well, I think I'm the one who got the hard workout, my legs are sore!

After warming up, we worked on simple lead changes several times in a row (probably 6-8 changes) in Figure-8's and Louie did great, he got all of his leads on the first try. 

Then I thought, I'm just going to experiment with something, so I picked his head up and asked him to step up into a saddle seat trot.  Much to my surprise, off he went!  He did pretty well, but couldn't really extend or keep going for long in a saddle seat frame.  Well, because I haven't worked him that way I'm sure.  I felt like his motor just died after about 2 laps like that and I was clucking and pushing like crazy to keep him going.  He'll have to build up to that if I'm going to ask him for it. 

Well, after a little breather, I asked him to trot again, this time asking for a hunt seat frame.  When I asked him to step up a little, he slid into almost a new gear of extension that I haven't felt him do before.  Wow!  Cool!  So, while I'm sure it won't be good for his back, I think asking him to do a little saddle seat work now and then may help him to build up muscles and loosen him up in a different way than what he's used to.  Who knows, maybe he'll decide he really wants to be a saddle seat horse afterall. . .

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trail Time

Louie and I went on a wonderful trail ride yesterday with a few of our barn friends.  We just went to a nearby regional park, but got probably 3 hours of riding in, which was a blast.  Louie was a little off at the walk, but he doesn't seem to be in much pain with his head-nodding/short striding, and he was happy and excited to be out cruising the trails. 

Louie much prefers being the fearless leader, though he followed willingly as well.  He plowed through tight wooded trails that at times were almost too narrow to pass safely.  One thing I noticed that was quite interesting was his ear position.  When Louie was out front his ears were always forward.  When he was the back horse his ears were almost always back (listening).  I think this could be partly his display of preference for the front, but I really think it's herd instinct and he was watching/listening to protect the herd from his position in the group.

We did manage to snap a few photos and videos, in these two videos you can see his ear position, and also his subtle head-bobbing, which persisted at the walk for the entire trail ride (didn't warm up out of it like I expected). Well, overall it was a great time and I'm looking forward to the next time we get to go out trail riding! Perhaps next weekend?

Checking out the view.

Louie felt like a saddle seat horse!

Our riding buddies.

Louie had fun walking through this field of lush green goodness!

Back at home in front of the pack.

Taking a break at the trailer.  3 hours is a lot of riding for poor baby Louie.

Sweating away the pounds!

My pretty boy.

The world always looks better through the ears of a Saddlebred.

And finally, the videos:
Leading the way.

Bringing up the rear- and trotting!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Diet

I had to buy new plastic baggies for Louie's feed since 3/4 pound of feed looks pretty silly in a gallon freezer bag, and 1/4 pound looks even funnier. 

That's right, 1/4 pound.  That's what Louie gets to eat now, granted it's twice a day, but he's pretty cheap to feed for 1/2 pound a day!  I would consider not giving him any grain, but I need something for his MSM to stick to, and it would be cruel to watch him get skipped over when the feed cart goes by and doesn't make a stop at his stall. 

I'm sure he'll be disappointed in the lack of feed he's getting, but it's for his own good.  He needs to lose a few pounds and he is still a little off, so I'm not super comfortable pushing his exercise up a whole lot.  But that's a whole 'nother topic. 

The diet goes into effect in 6 days, after his current bagged feed is used up.  I thought it was pretty cool that I could fit a month's worth of food into a single grocery bag to bring it to the barn.  We'll see how he looks in a month!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What You Get

. . . when you don't see your horse for 2 weeks. . .

is a fat horsie. 

Yeah, Louie is a little chubbier than the last time I saw him, I'm sure partly because he didn't get any exercise and partly because the horses were turned out on to the green grass over the past 2 weeks.  So, what he needs is some exercise, and maybe a decrease in his feed- a good ol' diet. 

Who me?

Tonight he got some good exercise, I got him nice and sweated up with just some basic walk-trot-canter work.  He is doing great with his transitions, his leads, and speed control.  He seems a little stiff on his right front leg still, but not head-bobbing or lame, and he seems to work out of the stiffness when he is pushed a bit.  So, that makes me happy.  Now we just have to work on trimming down the waist line. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lonely Louie

Poor Louie has been lonely this month.  With spring field trial season coming to a close, Louie has enjoyed some vacation time to himself while Jackson has been riding over 100 miles every weekend.  Below is a photo of Jackson and me (on the right) riding with our friends Hanah (10 years old) and Banana (left)

Luckily Louie has friends at the barn who stop in to visit him and check on his shoes.  It sounds to me like he's doing alright, but I'll be out tomorrow to say "hi, remember me?"  I don't know if he'll be excited or disappointed, but I'm looking forward to seeing the big guy.