Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Well the weather is certainly being strange - one minute it's sunny and nice and the next it's clouded over and snowing and blowing a gale.
Gemma's on antihistamine because the trees have started up and I managed to get bitten by some insect so I had one too ( allergies to some insects and I really don't want another episode like I had a few years ago).
The weekend strarted well - a nice bright day and I'd decided to try Holly in the sidereins and roller to see if it helped her concentration any. The sidereins were very loose ( to the point of being what certain instructors would describe as "washing lines") and, in practice, it did work although getting her to actually stop once she was on the circle still seems to be a problem. I'd just finished and was talking to Andy ( the Yard Owner) about his plans of going logging with his son when Gemma turned up. Despite the prospect of tractors, trailers and chainsaws working in the vicinity and the gusty wind she volunteered herself to be lunged on Harvey (!) her only proviso - reins and saddle ( don't blame her there - I'll be wanting them too !)
We would normally have ridden but Fally is "offish" on one back leg - I think he's slipped in the field so he's not in a fit state to do anything more strenuous than graze ( and apparently roll in the mud).
Sunday was something of a washout, Gemma lunged Holly ( in the very loose sidereins) and had the same old problem with the walk/halt transitions, while she was lunging it started to rain and the wind was driving it straight across our little circle. She ended up with 10 minutes on one side and about 5 on the other as by then it wasn't rain any more it was rain/snow/hail/sleet in about a 20 odd mile wind. Not conducive to a good session of anything really ( except possibly drinking coffee by the fireside).
In light of this we turned the three of them out, cleared up and went to our respective homes with hopes of better weather for the morrow..
Thinking about the problem with Holly I decided to ask advice, why not ? that's what the internet's for. Hopefully someone could come up with a suggestion that will actually work. Long reining was mentioned - now that's interesting. I had planned to do that this year ( it's something I have never tried before although I have driven) however my plan involved doing it with the pony ( Min) in the field in Summer - not Holly in the mud in "interesting" weather. Whatever, so it seemed like we needed a second lungeline to try that. Another suggestion was for a second person to be there to catch hold of the horse as the stand command is given - well, purely by coincidence, Gemma has this week off so I'm not entirely on my own.........
Monday brought what we think of when we say March winds, yeah - racing clouds gusty, blustery and ice-cold wind and a selection of bright sunshine and threatening cloud.
Gemma rummaged in her stockpile of horsey stuff and managed to produce not only a lungeline but also a WB sized cavesson ( cross those off the shopping list). We decided to do Harvey first, simply because he'd done nothing at all yesterday. Gemma tried the cavesson on him - it fit ( just) but he wasn't thrilled about the jangly things on his nose. We left him to think about that while we groomed and mucked out the others. We didn't lunge him in it, not this time and with so many distractions about it seemed like it would be asking for trouble. We had the flappy tarp, the wind itself and, horror of horrors, the tractor and trailer full of logs that had been abandoned just a few yards from our circle due to a flat tyre. He thought that was truly scary even though there was nothing even remotely flappy about it and he lunged in an egg shape, stared bug eyed at it and tripped over his own feet. Gemma lunged him one way and I took him the other ( to see if his concentration would be better with me in the middle. If it was then it wasn't by a great deal but his transitions were better ( which may have been because he'd warmed up and settled into the work a bit anyway - hard to say really). He did go across to look at the trailer when we'd finished, didn't get so far as for him to touch it but it was close. We then proceeded to the gate crabwise as there was no way he would turn his back on the scary monster thing - it might leap up and eat him !
By this time we were freezing and had to adjourn for warmth and tea before doing anything with Holly.
We thought we'd leave off any attempts at longreining until the weather was more amenable - the way it is right now we'd have flying lungelines and who knows what else. I have no idea if Holly has ever been longed before either.
Gemma lunged ( it's nice to stand back and see it from the other side) with the cavesson and I ended up being the one to step forward when she ignored the stand command. I only had to catch hold a couple of times - mostly just stepping towards the circle was enough and at the end she did stand on voice command only ( but not until the very end). She wasn't bothered by the tractor ( she saw it yesterday) but more by the mud.. Hopefully the wind will dry things up a bit for tomorrow.
I did manage to find the missing phone - it turned up in the nastiest puddle on the yard - the one by the grid where everything drains to. A couple of days drying on the fire shelf and it seems to be working although the keypad is a bit iffy ( probably full of dirt and horsehair). How long it'll last is anybody's guess.
Today is Gemma's birthday - hopefully she enjoyed spending the first half of it in a field freezing her butt off !