Finally the snow came and things got much brighter right away. Alright, first we had to get through 4 days of it snowing constantly, which was tough on some of us…
But, Barley is up on his feet again! I haven’t heard a cough in a long time and we have even started up our riding together again. Since he had over a month off, we are doing only light work and short sessions.
He is such a cutie pie. The first time we pulled out the saddle, he almost went nuts. 😀
He was saddled and bridled, I just had to put my helmet and gloves on but he was SO eager to get going. My DOH had to tell him a couple of times to stop stepping around.
I knew that after such a long break, he would be quite fresh again, indoor arena was crowded so I choose the paddock instead. Lucky us, 30 cm of fresh snow. I had lunged him in the paddock a day before, overnight we got 10 cm more and the new snow covered the old tracks, not completely though. You could still make out where the old tracks were.
THOSE TRACKS WERE SO DANGEROUS!
He was snorting, spreading his legs, lowering his head and sniffing every uneven bit around him. He got scared of his shadow and suspicious even of his own tracks. That much energy was stored in him. What to do? Once again, leave the reins long, make him go forward, talk to him, praise a lot…I sounded like a mad woman! For every step he took without bolting he got a “Good boy!” or a “Brave boy!” or a “Nice Job!” or a “Well done!” or a “Tough shrimp!” or a “There you go, buddy”.
I couldn’t help myself anymore, I started laughing hysterically!
How the heck do you survive in your pasture all day! Drop the act, I am not buying it!
I guess that was actually what made him realize that he was not acting like a tough Quarter-Pony but like a total drama queen. We starting trotting and after about 10 minutes he had forgotten all about those monsters lurking under the snow.
That workout got much more intense than I intended to, but after he came over his fear he started to have great fun in the snow. He started blowing out, going with his head down, almost dragging his nose in the snow at first. I asked him to lope and he gladly did! 😀
He got so happy that he rounded his back and kicked out a little, letting out a high pitch squeal. I started laughing again, I just love it to see him so happy. I let him lope as much as he wanted, just got into a light seat and only took the reins when I thought that he was going a little too fast. There was lots of snow, but I just didn’t want him to slip.
The next day of course it had to be a walk-only day, just to get rid of any eventual lactic acid in his muscles. Yeah, indoor arena 😦 That was the best footing after going in lots of snow. Anything else outside would have meant that he had to go through lots of snow again, we took 20 minutes of walking in the arena instead. Gosh, I don’t know sometimes how people do that day after day, year after year. We both were bored out of our minds, but sometimes you have to do the reasonable thing.
By the way, his feed does normally not look like this…I mean, that’s it’s normally not inside the crate. He likes the small stuff that lies on the bottom of the crate and the other day I discovered another treat that he seems to appreciate….rabbit droppings! 😛
During the evenings and nights the wild rabbits seem to appreciate the silage and hay too.
I found a lot of rabbit droppings in the crate and he ate them like treats. I try not to get too worked up about it. Rabbits are also herbivores that digest the fibrous fraction of their food in the ceacum via bacterial fermentation, so I guess he gets something good out of it. Either fibre or bacteria that he can use.
How I know? Well, I started a 5 weeks MOOC (massive online open course) from the University of Edinburgh on equine nutrition. Just passed the test on the first week, the digestive tract of the horse and some things are much more clear to me now.
It’s a really brilliant way to learn and the setup, in my opinion, is great.
Have a look if you are interested.
Alright, that’s all for the moment. Soon it’s time to drive to the stable again and head outside with my best friends.
Take care and let me know that you guys are still alive 🙂