Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eight days a week

This is the first real work week back for all horses, and in a way it felt like spring cleaning- a chance to air everything out and get the house in order.

It's the first time in a long time that all the tack was stripped, not just wiped down, that all the windows were open, that I didn't shy away from anything water based in fear that I would be frozen to it and I could wear a short sleeved polo instead of the eight layers of StayPuff jackets for warmness.

Also on the housekeeping list is updated videos, and photos of the horses and pony parlor days of grooming.

Because our show season was pushed back to April instead of February, it gives the opportunity to really prepare grooming wise. All this week horses were scrubbed, washed, a few had their mains pulled, the rest had their braids put in. Tails are being deep-washed, getting the grease and gunk out of them and then being conditioned and picked through regularly until the strands feel better. They also got their first taste of post-workout wash downs.

My wash rack looks like a disaster zone from the mud and embedded dirt that's come off the horses. But they're starting to get their blooms under the wiry winter hair. Hopefully the weather will keep going so they can really get the deep-set grime out.

Spring is also the time to evaluate feeding programs, so Pennfields is due out to look over the new horses, adjust the old, and see how things are going. Their regular bags- Fibregized and Ultra Balancer, have been staples in my barn now for the past five years.  I can't wait to add in the Progressive line again. Their electrolytes, Topline, and hind gut formulas are excellent complements to the Pennfields line.

Fantastic, shiny summer coats start with good baseline nutrition which is supported by good grooming.  It also gives me time to create a game plan for how each horse's meals should be developed to address their needs.

So while we're waiting on the visit, the stock in Suave has risen by a few cents due to massive purchases of coconut smelling shampoo and conditioner.

It's also time to break out the clippers and get goat hairs, old man hairy ears and strays out of the picture. The Hidden Pond Farm horses are going to get clipped so they don't look like they're out of the ice age.

But the best sight is the wet saddle pads hanging outside, showing proof the higher temps and sweating it out in the sandbox. I can't wait until the trails clear up and I can get back to conditioning, walking up and down the driveway is fun for all of five seconds.

Sinari continues to come back in good form, she's really becoming more solid in the FEI degree of self carriage. Its now just a question of sharpening the movements. Four's and threes are no issue, as are the trot half pass and mediums/extensions, I need to solidify the twos and keep working the full pirouettes. Her half steps are stronger, as are her pirouettes. I need to start playing with the zig-zag again.

Danzador is motoring, he's had a few intensive days of on the lunge with some p&p work to get his head back in the game. He also went through a growth spurt during the heavy part of the winter. He's gained height and looks like he's about ready to gain width again. He continues to be clever, finding his gears in the trot and schooling walk-canter, canter-halt transitions. I'm hoping by the end of spring we can put a change on him which should gear him nicely for the end of the year. I think the idea is to have him schooling close to third level and be showing/working second. I also need to start working through his lateral work and make it more educated and more on the spot.

Denia HPF is a little superstar. She's stepping out everyday trying to improve. While she doesn't have the gaits like Danzador or Asanto, she's a very game, balanced mare who is very clever and observant. Even though she's not very fit and doesn't last very long within the work, every day she's stepping out and accepting the progression. Her main challenge at this point is keeping the relaxation to maintain thoroughness, because she's so anxious to please often times she over thinks. The time with her is split lunging to help her gain her balance, and riding. She will be looking to do a couple small schooling shows in the next few weeks to get her around.

Asanto HPF is also progressing. His personality is actually growing on me. When he first came he was a bit stand-offish. But now, if he's not at the center of attention he will get it immediately with an playful little nip or lipping your hair. He's English schoolboy cheeky, and a pony stuck in a very large package. The main thing we've been focusing on is straightness, strength and like Denia HPF, relaxation. His time is also spent between the lunge and also playing in hand. Even though he has an uphill balance point, right now his hind end over powers the front because he can't hold himself together for more than 15 minutes, lunging helps strengthen him and the in hand piaffe/passage work helps him get the concept of straightness, sitting, pushing, upping the balance point and engaging without loosing the entire package.

Flemmiro SSM is preparing to make the trip down to the US shortly. I wish she would have come in January so Alfredo could see her in the March clinic and get a better idea about developing, but knowing what we went through this winter season, it wouldn't have happened anyways.

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