December 6, 2007
Today I gave him some beet pulp instead of sweet feed/or the Developer because we have a few bags that need to be used up. He ate it pretty willingly, but I don't know how much he enjoyed it. (My old TB mare used to loooooooove it.)
After snapping a few new pictures I decided that I'd better get started on my goal for this winter. The goal? To pick up and clean out his feet regularly. He's not bad for the farrier, but he's not as good as he could be. (I blame myself - but it hasn't helped that he hasn't been home for much of the last two summers.) So, today was the first day. He did pretty good. It takes longer to pick them out because you have to pick, prod, yank, and do whatever else it takes to get the packed snow out of them! (I hate winter.) He did quite good for his front foot, but when I moved to the back he got a bit fussy. I just held onto it, but he wasn't going to stop wiggling it and doing the 'threaten to kick back a bit', so I took a page from our farrier's book and dropped his foot, gave him a swift kick in the rear, then made him do some small (lunging-type) circles around me in both directions - and making him hustle while he was doing them. Then we stopped, and I rubbed his face, led him back over to the post and proceeded to pick up his foot again. He was much better. And he did quite well for the last two feet too. I don't think it will take very long before he's a champ with this. (I refer to this as Boot Camp for Nova! He's getting too big to be getting away with anything bad now.)
December 13, 2007
I have a small break between exams, so today was go out to lunch with Grandma and play with Nova day!
First I brought him and Kaila up for their goodies. I do have to say that at least he's learned one thing well. When I put his dish down, he waits for me to come and unclip his lead before walking over and eating. Thank goodness for some patience!
After he was finished I picked out his feet again (yay for warmer weather and snow that actually comes off the hoof!) and he was far better this time. Didn't hardly fuss at all - just lifted up his back feet and did a nice side step wth them when I went to pick them up. So, followed him and got them the next time - no biggie. He didn't try and take them back or kick, so yay. It won't take long until he could care less about them.
And after that, I decided to take him out for a walk and attempt what Mercedes suggested for getting him to pay attention and walk beside me. It worked! I didn't do everything 100% right, but what I did do worked very well. Everytime he tried to (or did) get ahead of me I just either pushed him into a turn away from me or pulled him into a turn around me. We also did some stops and a turn on the forehand to watch our neighbour drive up the hill. He seemed to pick up that he was supposed to walk with me (and that doing that was much easier). We had the best walk together in ages! (Now, if only I didn't have to trudge around in huge winter boots.)
December 14, 2007
Yay for me, I'm making the most out of this nice weather we're getting! (Bonus point, perhaps?)
After Nova's goodies I decided to haul my butt up on Kaila and take Nova for a ride (aka, pony him). And to make this more extreme - I did this bareback!!
He did really quite well, and for only having done this a handful of times, I was proud. We started off wonderfully, and he was walking along right beside Kaila with a loose leadrope (if anything, he wanted to walk a bit faster than her - but she's old and sore, so that's not going to happen). A bit past the arena he spotted someone in their front yard on a ladder putting up Christmas lights and holy moly that was a bit spooky! He had to stop a few times, and with his head in the air he just stared at them. But after pausing and letting him look, he came forward with just a slight tug on the rope. And of course, this house is on a bend, and just as we're passing the scary person, the school bus comes around the corner. Oh I was happy I was on Kaila! She just moved over and pushed Nova more to the edge of the road and the bus went past, and nothing bad happened. And Nova didn't even get very upset (though he did have stop and look back at that scary person one more time).
Next were the two horses and mini donkey on the next corner. I'm happy Stewie (the mini donkey) didn't bray, because while it would have been too funny to see Nova's reaction, I might have had to see it from the ground because Kaila is NOT fond of things like that! Okay, so that's an overreaction, Kaila's seen Stewie before and she probably would have only frozen in place and stared at him. So on we continue.
He did quite well as we turned to come home (it's a loop) until the scary kid started to run after us. We turned down one road and he was on the other, and when he saw us he started to run after us... Ack! Me, bareback, with Nova... Disaster. So, I just kept riding, hoping he wouldn't get too close. (If I'd had someone to run interference I would have stopped to let him look at the kid, but by myself I decided to just ignore him [I'm a horrible person, I know]) Well, Kaila didn't seem to notice, or care about, the kid, but when he ran around the corner behind us (not close, don't worry) Nova sure noticed! He did a very respectable Saddlebred impression (big fancy trot, tail straight in the air, head up and eyes buggy) and got rather excited. Then tried to kick my poor dog. After we managed to escape the trailing kid, he still wouldn't really settle down and kept trying to jog. And instead of fighting him and making him more worked up, I just let him jog but kept him beside my leg. And I'm not sure if I should be upset about the jogging, or actualy happy he walked up the big hill just before our place, because he typically has to be dragged up it.
And just for the record, he settled down at the top of the hill and we finished off on a good note - he was back to walking beside us like a pro.
After I got off, tied Kaila up, I decided to pick up his feet, and did so while he was standing loose. He was quite good. Yay. And when I went to put Kaila back I just slid his rope through the ring on the post, and he didn't even test it out to see if he was 'actually' tied. Awwwh, my baby knows how to tie! Weee!!
I think that's enough for now - but I had a fun ride today (hey, didn't get dragged off the horse) and Nova had some some excitement.
December 26, 2007
Obviously, yesterday was Christmas Day, so Nova got some treats. And this year he actually ate his carrots and apple slices! He got off easy as we took the other three for a ride and he got to hang out at home. Even alone, he was quite settled down (didn't run) and only called a few times.
Today was more exciting. He got a late Christmas present - a new halter and lead! Yeah, he didn't need one at all... Except his current one didn't fit well (the cheek pieces were too long which made it too long on his face). So, I decided he needed one that make his face look prettier! So, ta-da, a brand new Triple E Overlay! Weeee.
After that, he got his goodies, which of course he enjoyed! And because Matthew and my mom were outside with me, we decided to do pictures of him and Kaila. He is definitely taller than her! Which we knew, but it was fun to see how much. I hope he grows a bit more, and I can't wait for him to fill out in the next couple years.
And lastly, and the best part... I hopped on him bareback! I was fooling around and put him beside our 'mounting block' and had him stand there. I then leaned over him and rubbed him all over, then hopped up and bellied him and slid back off. He'd stepped sideways, so I led him back over and bellied him again, and then after a moment I scrambled (literally) up on him. I'm typically less than graceful when I get on bareback, but this time I didn't try to tone it down figuring that he has to get used to the real stuff sometime. He was perfect while I did it! He only took a half step forward, and I think that was more a balance issue. He was great! Didn't even blink about it. And he walked over to Mom and Matthew, then onto the snow to eat grass. He still doesn't know what a cluck and squeeze mean, but Mom came over and rescued me and led him over so he didn't 'get away with it'. He was suck and allstar today, I was quite proud of my boy!