Update on This and That

Venice has been getting steadily friendlier since I have had more control of her head. First with the war bridle, and now with a proper halter. She’s had a short lead rope hanging from the halter for a few days and she’s learned to flip it aside as needed, and to keep it out from under her feet. Jen, who is keeping Twister in the stall next to Venice, was surprised to realize that Venice had quietly sneaked up behind her on the other side of stall wall and was playing with her hair. Of course when Jen actually turned and looked, Venice jumped back in alarm 🙂

She has been learning to move forward when I put pressure on the lead. It’s not smooth and fluid yet, but she understands and she tries. Usually she can only manage one or two steps at a time. Today, I was able to lead her out into the barn aisle, where I fed her a few carrots until she relaxed. Just about that point, Veronica walked in unexpectedly, and poor Venice’s courage evaporated. She leapt about a foot straight up, then stood, quivering in her boots, but she held her ground (sort of). I asked Veronica to go outside for a minute, and managed to get Venice to walk back into her stall without any crashing around. Poor Veronica was horrified that she’d interrupted our little training session. But Venice needs to learn to deal with stuff like that anyway, and she coped. So it was all good.

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Twister had a good day today. He finally looked like he could walk without flinching, and Jen was thrilled. He’s been recovering from his episode of laminitis (founder) this winter, but it’s been very very slow. Hopefully the Pergolide is finally kicking in and controlling the Cushings. One difference that’s showing up already is that he’s mostly lost his long winter coat. He’s always grown a tremendously thick coat that was very late to shed in spring (a symptom of Cushings). This is the earliest he’s ever lost it. Jen is setting up a track around the inside edge of the big paddock so Twister will have lots of room to move, but no access to grass once he can be turned out. His management is going to be quite a project for the rest of his life. While it’s not grass that caused this episode, the sugars in grass are very dangerous for him. Rather like sugar for a diabetic.

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I’ve been riding Diego pretty regularly over the last two months. Nothing exciting. But lots of short uneventful rides. He’s been exceptionally good so far. Of course he hasn’t been pushed in any way. Mostly just walk/trot with only a few short, easy canters. But my theory is that we are “practicing being good” instead of practicing being frazzled. Trying to overlay some of his old reactive habits with a whole new set of calm habits. He had quite a long time off after the disastrous events of last year. And then all the ground work and driving. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we’ve managed to reset his responses to stress a little bit.

Certainly some of his hot buttons have faded out. He actually likes to trailer load now. We did a lot of practicing before winter set in, but then with the snow and ice, I wasn’t able to get him on the trailer for a couple of months. So last week I figured I’d better test load him a few times to make sure he was still good with it. He didn’t even hesitate. Hopped right on, totally relaxed.

He’s standing like a rock for mounting too. I get on the mounting block, and he lines himself up for me and doesn’t move a muscle until I ask. That’s important, since the older I get, the less graceful I become. And I never was very nimble. I had a friend who could swing gracefully up onto her horse bareback when we were teenagers. I ground my teeth in verdant envy every time I saw her do that. Anyway, Diego needs to stand quietly for me so I can get myself up there one-armed (I never realized that I even USED my left arm when I was mounting a horse until I broke that elbow!)

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King is looking good. Some of his tumours have reduced in size a little over this winter. He’s had his feed strictly rationed and is at a much more reasonable weight than usual. I’ve ridden him a few times, and although we did not do much, he didn’t cramp up. So I may try riding him a little more this year. Not in competition. Just for fun 🙂

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Dressy just looks smug. She thinks that the Queen of the Universe should not have to work (there are minions for that sort of thing), and thus all is right in her world.

2 thoughts on “Update on This and That”

  1. All good updates but the best news is that my pal Twister is feeling a bit better. Twister is like family, granted he may be more like the pain in the butt family that you are forced to spend time with every Christmas but he is not without charm and we love him.

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