Sunday, June 17, 2012

Clean and Shiny!

I'll post about my second endurance ride as a non-rider soon, but first...I went out to the barn this afternoon.  I wasn't sure I would, because I was exhausted after the ride this weekend, but the barn manager texted to ask if I was bringing Trigger in, so I changed into riding clothes in case I decided to ride, and went out there.  Someone had already brought him in (if he even went out, the ever-present question), and not a soul was at the barn, so I decided not to ride.  Eventually, I will ride alone, like any good endurance rider, but I want someone present for the next couple rides.

I took him to the arena--he LOVES to roll, and his food is at the narrow end of his pen, and he poops in the other end, which would be the ideal spot to roll, size-wise, so I like to let him roll in the arena or round pen when I get him out.  I don't think he rolled today, though.  I'm not positive, because I was moving some poles around, so he might've done it when I wasn't looking.

The jumps were mostly in the same spot, but closer together.  There are three sets of standards, a few poles, some ground bars (instead of ground poles, there are two bars  a little shorter than half the width of the jumps) and a few fence-like objects.  Today, the three sets of standards were placed RIGHT after each other, with no gap between their H-shaped bases, and then there were jumps, fences, and ground poles in various combinations between the three standards.  I walked between them and led Trigger, and at first he wanted to go around instead of through (duh, it's easier!)  but on the second try, he dutifully followed me between two standards, and diagonally across a ground pole.  Then we went between the two taller jumps, and he had to step over the standard bases.  He was so cute--he stepped on a pole on the first try, so after that, he stepped his feet VERY high, then cautiously put them straight down very carefully.

I put his halter on and took him out of the arena and walked him over the poles I'd set up.  No biggie.  He watched his feet a bit, but not as much as with the PVC poles (these were wood).

He always seems a little wary of my car parked in front of the barn, so since we were the only ones there, and mine was the only car, I took him right up to it.  He sniffed but didn't freak out.  I thumped on it, no biggie.  I locked and unlocked it (so it would beep) while he was standing right in front of it.  He sniffed the grill in front of the engine.  I thought about hitting the panic button, but decided not to go that far today.  I did pop the trunk, but not while he was right next to it.  He just looked at the gaping orifice with curiosity, and we walked up to it.  I remembered I had the tarp in the trunk, so I got it out, and he was fine.  I carried it with us back around the barn.

We headed down to the "tying up tree" (there's no hitching post or rail, just one tree with a rope and tie blocker ring thingie and some mats under it).  I got out the grooming stuff, and saw the bucket with shampoo, sponge, and sweat scraper, just begging to be used, so I picked his feet, but instead of brushing him, I washed him.  He didn't love it, but he was pretty good.  I sponged soapy water onto his mane and body, and scrubbed at his body a bit with the sponge and my fingers a bit.  I dipped his tail into the sudsy bucket, as high as I could.  He kind of clamped his tail down, but he let me dip even his tail bone in.  The rinsing off phase started pretty well, though it was actually difficult because he kept trying to stick his face in the water.  But then he started getting a little more antsy about me spraying his back end.  In fact, the further back, the less he liked it.  He didn't love it, but tolerated me doing his neck and chest.  He danced around, but let me do his back and ribs without too much trouble.  He kept swinging around when I tried to do his haunches.  He wouldn't even LET me around behind him to rinse his tail.  I ended up dumping what was left of the sudsy water and refilling the bucket with clean water, and dipping his tail again and swishing it around in order to rinse it off, which actually went okay for the most part.

I wanted him to dry off before I put him back so he didn't roll while damp, so I let him graze.  Now, I've got to tell you about this AMAZING skill my horse has.  I've heard there are ads on Craigslist that include, among the horse's skills (or sometimes as its only skill) that it likes to be brushed.  Trigger likes being brushed okay, but probably not enough to list as a skill.  However, he is AMAZING at ground-tying when allowed to graze in a grassy area.  ;-)  I ran back and forth to the grooming supplies while leaving him in the sunshine, and he barely moved.  I even went into the tack room, leaving him alone and untied, and he was in exactly the same place when I came back!  How amazing is that?

I wanted to take a picture of the shampoo, so my many readers would know what it was, and also for my own records someday when it's time to buy more.  I realized I could fit Trigger in the photo, too.  If it weren't for his head being in the shadow, this could totally be an ad for the shampoo.  :-)

Om nom nom nom nom nom.  I don't care what you do to me as long as you let me graze.

Anyway, the shampoo I used is supposed to whiten and brighten, not in a bleaching way, supposedly, as it's safe to use on dark horses, but it definitely worked.  Next time, I'll have to work on more even distribution on his mane--I sponged near the roots, and the suds ran down to the ends on some of the strands, but not all of it, so now it looks like he has highlights.  I also didn't even touch his forelock, so now it's yellower than the rest of his mane.  His tail came out looking AWESOME, and I've been meaning to get a bracelet made of his tail hair, so I clipped a few clumps from the bottom of his tail bone.  Then I "banged" his tail a little bit--I like the blunt look.  It's about halfway down his cannon bone now.

Doesn't he look SO handsome?

Once he was pretty dry, I took him to the round pen so he could roll (he's going to do it eventually, and better in the clean roundpen than in his poo piles in his pen).  He moseyed around for a little bit like he wanted to, but then changed his mind, and just wandered in circles between the rolling area, me, and the gate, probably trying to tell me he didn't want to roll, and would love to just leave now, please.

SweetPea called, and asked if I rode him, and we chatted for a bit and formulated a plan for her to come to the barn with me on Monday evening so I could ride him a bit in the arena and maybe out and about around the property a bit, too, then on Wednesday, our friend K (known as VH on SweetPea's blog, so I might as well call her that too) will haul two of her horses out, for her and SweetPea to ride (SweetPea's horse gets a well-deserved break after going 50 miles yesterday!), and we will take a slow, easy, hopefully VERY boring trail ride.  :-)

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