Wednesday, 26 September 2007

This week has been unbelievably frustrating! I had such a good week with Echo last week, finishing with a really successful hack on Sunday, where we even had our first trot out in the big wide world. We trotted twice and both times Echo was very well behaved. We went out with one of her field-mates again and this is working out very well. We went past some potentially very scary objects and Echo did not even look twice at them. What a star.

On the way home, we had to go past a field where some of the horses from the yard are turned out and that was slightly tricky, as they were all young geldings and Echo is the biggest flirt I have ever known. Fortunately, I saw them come galloping over before she did, so I got off before we could have any difficulties. I led her past their field, with Echo prancing and fluttering her eyelids at the boys, then I remounted as soon as we had gone past. She was then fine.

My friend suggested that, as we were hacking back through the cross country course, we should have a little paddle through the water jump. Now, Echo has never been great with water; a year ago, when she was at her previous yard, we had a 'disagreement' about the idea of walking through puddles. In order to rectify the problem, I had to trudge through the water myself, generally getting soaked, then Echo would consider coming through too. I knew that she was not going to be convinced by a proper water jump. We didn't get into an argument: she just said no, and I left it at that. Echo takes some persuading when she has decided that it would be best not to do something. I can usually succeed in the end, but it is a battle of wills, and I didn't want to get into that with me on top.

So today, while I was waiting for the farrier to arrive to put her shoe back on, I took her down into the cross country course on a lunge line, and stood in the water jump (thank goodness for good wellies), asking her politely to follow me. It took about ten minutes and several pieces of carrot, but eventually she followed me in. After that she splashed through it happily several times. I intend to go through it mounted as soon as possible now.

The reason this week has been frustrating is that when I went to see her yesterday, I found she had lost a shoe. I considered riding or lunging anyway, but it was the foot that had all the problems a couple of months ago, and I didn't want to risk it. My farrier couldn't come out until 7pm this evening, so that is an extra two days off she has had. Tomorrow, I have the back specialist coming out to check her over, and she recommends a day off following the treatment, so I am desperately going to try to ride Echo before she comes, so that she hasn't had the entire week off!

How do horses manage to be so frustrating, when everything had been going so well?!

I forget to say - I took Echo's bars off her stable door on Sunday, so she no longer impersonates Hannibal Lector, and has room to move freely around by her doorway. It is nice to see her looking like a normal horse in her stable. I was also sick of people assuming that she had a weaving problem; I used to have to explain that in fact she had a 'climbing' problem! Her new trick, however, is checking to make sure people have put the bottom bolt across on her door, by quickly opening the bolt at the top. It is amazing how fast she can do this! I must get a clip to secure it. She doesn't ever go far, just wanders around the yard chatting to her friends!

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Daily adventures while training my young horse.