handwalking

Heat Tolerance

I need all of you in southern climates to bite your tongue for a few minutes and try not to snicker too hard at us, ok?

It was 85 degrees yesterday – HOT! The sun was out, and the humidity was up a bit. Proper summer weather for the first time in weeks, maybe a payoff for the 29-degree late frost overnight on the previous Friday. (I take full responsibility for that, I had just planted herbs in deck boxes. Sigh.)

So of course it happened that, on a rare day off, I was at the barn at 12:30, right at the hottest part of the day. Whoops?

In fairness, it was actually a really good time to stop by for a lot of reasons. Tris was inside, and I always try to time my visits to the barn for when he’s inside so I don’t interrupt his turnout. There was a bit of a break in adult camp, which meant that while I groomed I got to listen in on the trainer demonstrating schooling half-steps in the passage and pirouette, and then heard her get feedback from another trainer who works out of the barn sometimes. Super cool.

Then we headed out to march up the hill.

Whoo boy.

Don’t judge me too harshly when I say that at the end of our walk we were both a little winded and sweaty, ok? I mean, it was like…a  mile and a half. In 85 degree weather.

Yeah, okay, you can judge me a little bit. Does it help if I assure you that it was all either up or downhill on a decent grade?

Tris wasn’t quite sweaty enough that I wanted to hose him off, but he did drink about half a bucket and I hung around for a little while longer to just make sure he was cooling and drying off fine. He was, of course.

I do like the hill walking routine for both of us, though. We’ll keep it up until such a time as I feel like I’ve gotten good answers from the vet and radiologist, and we can start under saddle again. The problem at this point is more that I can’t keep his foot clean while riding – any duct tape booties get shredded after one ride – so hopefully sooner rather than later he can go nekkid again, and conditioning will start in earnest.

handwalking

Walking, walking, walking some more

We did more handwalking yesterday. It was 52, and overnight it dropped down to 37; it was still 39 for my drive to work this morning. SMH, as the kids these days are saying.

Please enjoy these really, really bad pictures of my horse, who could not decide from the buffet of options to be angry about: the wind, the cold, the lack of treats, my refusal to let him eat grass, wearing his sheet again when he thought he was done, you name it. He settled for being punky and grumpy about everything, which was by turns frustrating and adorable.

(Not a good picture, but this is a classic Tristan face, worried eye and slightly belligerent attitude. Oh, pony.)

He even had his mouth open. SO CLOSE. 
Dear Tristan: undo your Cushings and you can have spring grass. Fair enough?

(Foot progress: vet will jog out today, x-rays going off to the specialty radiologist this week, looks sound to my eyes, we’ll see.)

handwalking

Handwalking Hills in the Heat

Vermont has been getting a nearly record heat wave these last few days, which will continue through Friday. Yesterday was the peak. Tristan seemed to handle it quite nicely, thankfully, not sweating standing around – I was worried enough to text the barn manager, who told me to quit worrying.

However, I got to the barn and it was still 75. And I’d fussed on the way there about how I wasn’t getting enough exercise personally.

Solution: put a halter on him and march alongside him.

We did just under two miles of road walking together, down a 1/2 mile spur and then 1/4 of a mile up a steep grade of dirt road. Tris would rather not have done the hill part, though after a few minutes of road walking he seemed to shrug and accept that this is what his silly human had him doing for the evening.

I felt good about the work he did and the way I was able to encourage more march in hand. He blew out and farted and was even licking and chewing a little bit, so his body eased into the work as well. I also felt good about my own exercise goals, really feeling like I’d gotten in more movement than I would have otherwise. Win-win!

handwalking

Totally not fooling me

This is just to say that my horse? is hilarious.

Last night, we handwalked for 20 minutes outside, up and down the pasture hills, and he thought it was great fun. So we would walk for a bit, and then he would start jigging, and I would ask him to waaaaaaalk again, and he would heave a put-upon sigh, and walk.

Then he would jig v-e-r-y slowly. And I would say waaaaaaaalk, and he would give me the side-eye, and then jig even more sloooooooooooooowly. See, mom, I’m totally walking, I am, you don’t even have to speed up. And then when I asked him to walk, he would huff loudly, and walk for another few strides before starting up the jigging again.

I don’t know if I would have minded the jigging so much except he’s not used to moving in the boots – he’s spent most of his time standing around in the stall in them – and he kept tripping and nearly falling on his face after a few strides. Idiot boy.

After handwalking I pulled his boots, triple-checked the wrap on his RF, and doused the LF in thrush stuff. Fingers crossed he keeps everything on and his feet start to dry out and toughen up quickly.