Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Riding, Lunging and Barefoot update...

Sorry for the late post, I wasn't very well yesterday so went straight to bed after riding. Still not great today, but I am up, so decided to post. I have a terrible headache and I am drugged up on flu remedies, so if I don't make much sense that is why! So anyway, today's post is in three parts to cover the activities of the last few days. First is the continuing saga with Diesel's feet, then riding update from yesterday, and finally a lunging update from today.

Last Friday Diesel had the farrier come out, to trim and roll his feet, and check his continued suitability for working barefoot. Diesel's feet has been an ongoing saga, when I first got him he wouldn't pick his feet up at all and turned into a bucking bronco with the farrier. Handling Diesel's feet has been a very slow process and it has literally been in about the last month that I have been able to pick up and clean out all four feet without a fuss. He is getting alot better with the farrier now, I give him a shot of calmer an hour before he is due, I honestly don't think it does anything but at least I can say I am doing something. We have had a hard time finding a farrier, as they are too rough with Diesel, which makes him worse, or they take too long and he gets stressed, or worst of all they demand he is sedated! I am so glad we have finally found one that seems to work. Diesel was a lot better this time, he reared twice with the first foot, then settled down nicely and allowed his other feet to be trimmed, I was very proud of him. His feet were then checked to see if he can remain barefoot for now, as he is now in more regular work and I was very happy to hear that Diesel will hopefully be able to remain barefoot permanently as he has very strong feet, with deep soles. The only thing I have to be careful of is taking Diesel over gravelly areas which could make him footsore, or lots of road work which could wear his feet down.

I rode again yesterday, just a short one again though. I had planned on a longer ride, but unfortunately someone else wanted to use the indoor school as well, and after my confidence crisis the other day I didn't want to ride for long. Actually I didn't want to ride at all, but I made myself get on, and just worked on circles and bends, making a rough figure of eight with a ground pole at each side. Even though it was a short ride I felt a lot better that I rode him with someone else in the school. I also noticed today that he is not as willing to go on the bit (which he has happily offered since I started riding him), so I will have to work on that a bit, although this will probably come back as impulsion and balance improve.

Today was Diesel's Fat-busting/Aerobics lunging session. I try to give Diesel a good, energetic lunging session once or twice a week as he is still a little overweight and I am very concerned about him becoming laminitic. I lunged him from the bridle, with his lungee bungee attached to the roller, to try and encourage him to become a bit more round and work on the bit more. I took the lungee bungee of after a few minutes on both reins however as it soon became very clear that Diesel did not want to play ball today! From the start I really struggled to get him going, and managed a short trot on each rein before he started to nap. Diesel very quickly figured out that if he stops and turns in to face me I can't physically get him back out on the circle without stopping and starting again, and he uses this constantly if he isn't in the 'mood' for lunging. Today was one of those days... I attempted a canter on both reins, but this just resulted in a faster trot, so I decided to get a couple of ground poles out to give Diesel something more to think about. While I set up I let Diesel off the lunge and took his roller off so he could have a stretch and canter about, this normally results in 5 minutes of charging around the outside of the arena bucking and jumping around, but Diesel was in such a lazy mood he couldn't even be bothered to do that! After a few flicks of the lunge whip I got him to have a canter around and a couple of bucks, so I caught him again and started to lunge over the two ground poles. I spaced these so he could easily trot over both poles, but would need to stretch his stride out slightly. This worked and Diesel started to concentrate a bit more, before starting to nap again when we swapped to the right rein. Diesel finds it much harder to balance on this rein, so he naps more to get out of the work. I am going to work more on this rein in our schooling sessions to try and 'even him up' a bit. I persevered until he went over the trotting poles three times on the right rein without stopping or napping. Eventually, after about 20 minutes of lunging I was so worn out I had to stop, before I collapsed. I thought it was meant to be exercise for Diesel, not me! To finish off I walked him around the outdoor on a loose rein for a few circuits and encouraged him to stretch down.

 Diesel in his lunging equipment - notice the unenthusiastic expression before we even started

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