Monday, April 26, 2010

Busy few days

We headed off on Saturday morning to bring home Chief. Wasn't too sure what to expect as Craig had said a few times about how little handling Chief has had. He had been floated twice but not for some time. We took Summer along for a traveling companion.

Chief did really well with the float loading and certainly impressed me. I lead him and Charlie & Craig stood behind him (at a distance) and slowly, without a backward step, he made his way carefully in to the float. Phew, that was remarkably easy!
Traveled home fine. We had a couple of brief stops and all without a hitch.
He disappeared to the end of the paddock once we let him loose however. Summer cantered along behind, wondering what the rush was for. We certainly got to see the real evidence of what his breeding is supposed to be. There is a good does of standardbred in there for sure.
Summer had to be re shod later that day in preparation for the Mini Endurance ride the next day. We had her in the big shed with door open and Chief hung around watching and wondering. At one time he wandered off to check out the dog kennels and got barked at for his efforts. He did a very fast exit from that direction!
Very pleased with him so far though. He is spooky of things that are new but likes to go and investigate as well which is good. He grazes well with the others and comes running to us, actually he just follows Frank who races to see us, in case of food!
Sunday, Summer and I headed off to pick up Susan and Millie to go to the Mini Endurance day at Morrinsville.
Summer was pretty good about saddling up etc which can be an issue for her when she's a bit excited.
We headed out on the course with her pretty hot and hyped. It was an 8 km loop and I had planned to take the first loop pretty quietly and then maybe do a slightly faster second loop.

While she was prancing along I thought hmm, this could be a very slow loop. Susan and Ross were slightly ahead of me, Susan headed off quickly as Millie gets REALLY strong and Ross waited in the gateway. Summer settled instantly then to my surprise. I kept her at a walk for a bit then up to trot.
We caught up to Susan eventually and catered and galloped the rest of the way round. 8 km's in 45 mins. Great fun!!!
We let the horses have some water and short break and went out on the second loop. Did lots of walking this time and a few steady canters. 1 hr 15 mins this time.
Summer had had enough at that point. It was quite a hot day and the 5 hrs in the float the day before were starting to show their effects.

To say I was happy was a bit of an understatement. I had a blast and had to ask myself why I had even considered selling Summer. She even stayed happily tied to the float, (with her special tie up ring of course) while we went off for a cup of tea and spot prizes were handed out.

I wasn't brave enough to use the crupper this day though and did notice some ruffled hair patches on her back. Damn saddles :(

And today, Susan, Margaret and myself headed to Nicola's place for a couple of hrs riding around the farm. Perfect chance to use the crupper surely? Tired from yesterday? Surely!

After a bit of an adjustment to it, heart in mouth we went down our first hill. Some slight reluctance but really I shouldn't have worried. Nic was behind me and she said it was certainly doing its job.
Summer not tired and managed to jig and jog her way home but after a bit of trotting down on the flats she settled again.
Took the saddle off to rough patches. YAY!!!!! Saddle movement has always been a big issue so maybe, just maybe, this is going to make a difference.

Here's Frank, joyfully galloping down the hill to be reunited with Summer after we took her away from him all day. How mean are we ;-)

This afternoon I managed to spend some time with Chief who had lost his halter. Fairly confident the Trapper had something to do with that considering I found the tag that was attached to it in Trapper's paddock.

He let me catch him and put on a halter very easily I thought. Rubbed him all over with the big stick I have. Used to hooked end of it to give his feet a bit of a lift. No major problems there. Went and got a cover and laid it on the ground thinking that this was going to get Mr Spooky going.
Lead him up to it, he lowered his head as if to sniff the cover, and promptly picked it up in his teeth! He shook it a bit, let it go and walked over it, carefully. Hmm. This horse is a bit of a mystery. Spooks like crazy over some things and barely reacts to things I think he might be wary of.
So I rubbed him with the cover around his neck and shoulders, barely a reaction again so I rolled it a bit and laid it across his wither. Still no problem.
Then we did some stuff with the rope, all without any real fuss. So while the float was out I decided it was a good chance to put him on again. That did take some effort but I got him back in twice and he stood happily both times.

About this time Charlie came down the hill on the 4x4 bike, with trailer and about 6 dogs. That got Chief snorting! So I lead him to the bike and let him sniff it and watch it for a bit. Then we played chase the bike while it runs away. Will see tomorrow if its had the desired effect.

So I am thrilled with him. After watching him standing back blowing his nose at everything that moves practically, he is actually really brave and has remembered what little someone has done with him in the past. Craig did tell me he roped his legs once. Not something that thrills me but still common enough practice.

Town tomorrow and work Wednesday. Want to play with the horses though, way more fun.

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