Saturday, May 24, 2014

First video!

Well, her behaviour is a bit rough and my lunging is a bit klutzy, but I hope we will both improve.  This is her fourth time lunging, and the second time outside.  Every little thing distracts her - like a tree being trimmed.  I really don't think she's had much consistent training off the track.  I'll try to give her a solid base but I'm no trainer so it'll be slow.

I'm still trying to figure out what's wrong with her that she got bounced around so much.  There's definitely some assembly required, and she is a hazard to herself and others if she's put in the barn by herself.

Still, I think she looks pretty good!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Can't get used to losing you

It seems we have some separation/herd-bound issues.

While I was out giving Cody a good lunge the other day, Honey was doing her best to break through the fence to her new best friend Essa.  Even though they make nasty faces at each other over the fence all the time.  Fixed those boards, resolved to move Essa to the paddock diagonal to Honey when Cody's not there.  Good plan!

Since Essa had lunged decently in the arena, I thought it was a lovely day to work her outside and enjoy the bigger space.  So I happily led her in, all's well.  Until she got in her stall.  I barely got the door closed when she went tornado, spinning and calling - and she is LOUD.  I managed to get her lead off and get out of the stall, thought I'd wait it out.  She did not stop.

Cody gets a little nutty in his stall when I bring him in alone to work, but he gets the plan once he's being groomed.  Essa doesn't have that plan installed yet, and she doesn't much care for grooming.  So I decided to cut my losses, put her back out, and figure out separation issues.

From what I understand, I have to convince them that I'm just as good a leader as any of their pasture mates.  So I'll keep at the groundwork and giving her a job when I take her away.  The next day I played a little "into the barn, out of the barn" with Essa, which felt silly but, well, might help...We've also been mixing up the order coming in for supper.

So I keep having to downsize my grand plans but I guess that's all part of the process.  Working her after supper when they're all in is fine.  I did get her lunging outside last night, and I hope to have presentable video up very soon!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Finding out what apps are installed

I started flipping through my copy of Beyond the Track today, and remembered what a great reference it is.  Leading has been an issue coming in at night - Essa is last because that's how the paddocks go, and gets very upset and rude.  I also found out the other night that bathing is not an installed app.

They were all extra-nutty this evening, having a rolling splashing mud-licious good time.  The book recommends a shank over the nose, so I read up to make sure I was doing it right and tried it on Essa and Cody.  Voila!  They both gave me the "yes, ma'am" treatment.  Very nice.  I'm positive that's a result of their track experience, and it's definitely a tool that I won't be afraid to use again if need be.

Honey isn't keen on the hose for bathing either - hoses are for drinkin'!  So I resolved to back things up and read up on bathing.  I found a nice soft setting on the hose nozzle, started with feet and a plan to see how far up I could go.  I got about half-way up Honey's legs; Essa barely tolerated her feet.  But now I have a plan, so we don't have to power through and hope nobody gets hurt - which is what I did the first time.  I don't think Essa has had much steady training, so treating her as if she's fresh off the track may be the way to go.

On the good side, I did a little lunging with Essa.  She was lovely and well behaved, even a little lazy.  So that's a positive end to today - with a long weekend to look forward to, I hope to have more updates soon!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Adventures in bathing

Wow, that was more than I bargained for!  It was a beautiful evening to get Essa all lathered up and clean up that rain rot.  Everyone was turned in and finished their grain.  The other two were close by in the barn, not far far away in the paddocks.  They would all go back out to graze with enough daylight left for Essa to dry off.

She would have none of my lovely plan.  She danced and pawed and kicked, and kept her right side to the fence.  I felt like a losing boxer, dodging and moving her over, and trying to get the shampoo on and rinsed off.  I got most  of the job done, then finished rinsing her right side in cross ties in the barn.  I turned her out to graze and she ran around like a wet dog until her pals were out.

I really expected Essa to be cool with bathing after all of her racetrack time.  She is pretty attached to her new crew, and gets very upset being the last one in in the evening.  I've been so spoiled by Cody.  I grumble about his work ethic, but his ground manners are the standard I aspire to for Honey and Essa.  He never fusses coming in or going out and tolerates endless mane-trimming, braiding, clippers, even sheath cleaning without a tranq!

But after all that, I have to say, wow!

After all that bath nonsense
(Farm equipment seems to be getting her attention).  She is a handful with lots of work to be done, but I'm delighted to share a picture like this.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Introducing rain rot!

There's a (bacterium that acts like a) fungus among us.

She's been shedding A LOT, but it's been slowing down.  Except for some areas that were kind of gray and extra-cruddy.  Then the hair started coming out in tufts.  That ain't right...

I've never had to deal with rain rot before, so yet another learning experience.  It's along her back, rump, and inside hind legs.  So it's no coincidence that she's been very sensitive, even intolerant (cow-kicking!), to grooming along her back and flanks.  She's been that way since the start, but I just chalked it up to her having no "padding" over her bones and tried to be gentle.

Parts of her coat are starting to look good, but I don't think we'll be seeing those dapples this year.

"Race-fit" in 2011

I suppose it's been hiding out under her winter coat.  She probably had a wet winter without much blanket changing.  So between rough turnout conditions, being underweight and probably not having a great immune system...there you go.

The treatment suggestions are endless - things you'd expect like Betadine, and less obvious choices like Listerine, diaper cream, Head N Shoulders, and garlic (!).  So I'm grooming out what I can, spraying her with Banixx, and I'll give her a Head N Shoulders bath this weekend.  Mmmm, green apple!

Here's her latest progress picture.  I'm still having no luck getting her attention and getting her head up for a picture.  She's not easily distracted and won't. Stop. Grazing.  Which isn't really a bad thing.