It was a gorgeous day out today (+4), so I brought Nova out of the pasture for some beet pulp. I was noticing how big he's gotten! I hope to measure him some day soon to see just how much he has grown. Because the hair is just starting to grow back on his legs (he rolled underneath a fence at the barn before I bought him and took all the hair off the front of his hocks) I decided to put some MTG on them. He was too busy eating to care about my rubbing greasy, smelly stuff on his legs.
After he was done eating we did a bit of work on turning on his forehand and haunches. It was the first time I've directly asked him to do this, and he picked it up so well! We only did some partial turns both directions - not too much, as I don't want him to strain his joints (or his brain). After working with our older gelding (Skye) who has no concept of moving around his front or back end, I have decided that Nova is going to learn this now, so it won't be so foreign to him when I ask him under saddle later on.
He's been a bit fussy to put back in the pasture as of late. He is beyond easy to catch and bring up, but when you go to lead him back he locks on the brakes and doesn't want to move. I've been putting steady pressure on the lead, and he eventually gives in and steps foward a few strides before repeating his protest. It's slow going right now, but I'm sure he'll get over this soon enough. Thankfully he is a dream about going through the gate, which I do appreciate. No one likes getting plowed over!
February 3, 2006
Today was another gorgeous day - +4 again! After going for a ride on Skye I brought Nova out and took him for a walk. He was a very good boy. To start with, he walked the entire time. He has had days before where he refuses to walk beside me and instead trots/jigs. Neighbours of ours have two large german shepherds that are fenced into the front part of their yard, and of course, these dogs love to bark at the horses as they go past. This usually freaks Nova right out (I kind of think he expects them to come through the fence and right up to him). Today though, he was so good and walked right up to their driveway without hardly a second thought. He did pause a couple of times, but I just waited and after a few seconds he would start walking again. He even went up to the scary garbage cans that were at the end of the driveway.
I then turned around and headed home, much to Nova's disgust I think as he kept his ears pinned back the entire time. So I decided to continue on past our driveway and along the short path beside our fenceline over to where a new subdivision is being put in. He's never been back here, and was very game to go exploring. Well, until the horse-eating large rock jumped out at him.... At least in his mind it did. We did go up to it, and he got a cookie for his efforts. When we turned to come back home he once again looked pretty unhappy with me - perhaps he really likes these adventures. Once again he put on the brakes heading to the pasture, but yet again, I won.
February 5, 2006
It was a very windy day today, and of course, cold. After mentally girding my loins, I convinced Mom to come for a walk with me to get the mail - and taking Nova and Kaila (his less-than-enthusiastic-about-it adoptive mum) along as well. As a precaution I put a rope halter on him, just in case he got a bit uppity because of the windy. As it turns out, it was uneeded, as he actually walked right past the german shepherds without being scared. I do think having Kaila along really helped. The area near the mailboxes is a new place for Nova, and as he seems to do - he took it like a pro. He did get a bit excited on the way home after a bit of in-hand trotting, but soon settled down again. I am really pleased that he doesn't seem to 'loose his marbles' if the weather is breezy.
February 6, 2006
Today was nice and sunny, and only a few degrees below zero. I did a bit of lunging with Skye in the yard while Nova was tied up, and he didn't even react when I snapped the whip a few times, and to the fact that Skye was running about in a large circle. I did practice a bit more turning on the forehand and haunches - I think he's picking it up well. I did some trotting in-hand with him, and he also picked that up quickly. He needs some work on the 'whoa' though.
February 7, 2006
I am so proud of Nova today! I took both him and Skye down to the arena, which means that I had to lead them both together, which is something I've never done with Nova before. He was awesome. What he was less than awesome about was when I was trying to get pictures, and all he wanted to do was follow me around! I had to resort to 'chasing' them to get any photos. Afterwards I walked up and caught Nova, then practiced some turns using the arena fence. He is starting to move over easily, and with only a little pressure.
February 15, 2006
Today while Nova was busy contemplating eating his beet pulp (his other option was pawing at it) I tried on some old blankets we have. Just wanted on that might kind-of-sort-of fit him if needed. He really could have cared less about the whole thing, until I went to take them off. Then he cared slightly, and in fact was more being silly than anything else. He didn't get away with any of that, and did stand for me.
February 23, 2006
Nova is 10 months old today! To celebrate, I measured him. He was 13.1hh when I bought him back in November, and today (as best I can figure with unlevel ground and no one to hold him for me) he is 14hh at the withers and 14.2 at his hip. Not too shabby! I think he's going to turn out to be a pretty nice size when he matures - yay! After a bit of practice with our turns, I put him away.