Friday, October 21, 2011
Wide open spaces
This was a huge lifestyle change for Sinari.
For the last five years, she was pretty much in a stall on extremely limited turnout (two hours daily, in good weather). Occasionally we caught luck and got to turn out for three or four days, but for the most part it was stall central.
Her stall was really deeply bedded, I spent a good portion of my paycheque and afternoons making sure it was just right. She also had a dutch door and a window to look out of so she wouldn't be bored or feel closed off. The barn itself had high, open ceilings.
I became a quintessential DQ in that regard. If anything was less than ideal, it was hand grazing and hand walking.
When we moved, that situation changed, drastically.
We went from 3 hours, max, to 8 in a very grazed down two acre field.
Coming off a splint, I was holding my breath for the first three weeks as she pounded around her field at whatever gait she choose.
Since she didn't melt, break, blow up or disintegrate, it really made me start to think about horse keeping, turnout and injuries in general.
Horse keeping became easier. I first noticed I wasn't burning through two bales a week, and 10 bags of shavings. But I have a feeling this is going to change, not just with winter but with work load. But for now she gets good forage out in the field.
But it's what I've noticed about her physically that's changed.
After we've backed off the work, she lost a bit of muscling and condition. Over the summer I was constantly working to keep soreness in check.
Off the bat, her back and hips are less sore. She's much more loose in the work, and the problem places seem to be going away. She's due for a chiro appointment.
Then there's the current issue of the old splint. Splints are created by the bone being reformed/re-modeled from work. They happen in many cases, but I think lack of turnout had a factor in this due to the non-gradual nature of the conditioning work (coupled by really packed ground) involved.
So while I'm not going to go to the opposite end of the spectrum of total pasture puff, I'm actually happy with the changes in place to allow her to be a horse and allow her to physically re-charge for the work at hand.