Saturday, October 06, 2007

Trail Horses

Hacks for Everyone

It was hot, or at least getting hot today--upper 80's F. I had a chiropractic/physical therapy session in the morning and when I got home just a bit before 11 it was still tolerable.

I decided to take Toby out for a ride around the lake to see how the footing was. With the drought we've been having, I was hoping the muddy and swampy areas had dried up.

I was right. Aside from one patch of trail still under water, the rest was dry. The trail has two tricky spots. One is a pretty steep, though short hill to go down or up and the other is the swampy spot that never does quite dry up. Toby was, as usual just fine down the hill but the water?

Well, I suppose the cute little green frogs popping in and out of the water didn't help. I mean, they were horse toe munching frogs, you see. And they were IN the water, so that was where Toby did not want to be. We ended up in a briar bush before he finally consented to walk where I wanted him to through the water. Once past that obstacle the rest of the ride was just fine, and the shady woods were nice and cool.

I decided to take Chance on the same trail, a little concerned about the hill and water as he's never tackled either before. I shouldn't have worried! What a star! He picked his way very carefully down the hill and when we got to the water he stopped, looked at the frogs, tried to go around it all and then, with the littlest of urging from me, went right along through the mud, and water like a pro! Aside from his tendancy to kind of wander off the trail "following his face" if he's looking at something, he is one nice little trail horse! He is really fun to ride.

Tucker was eager to work and even more eager to head out into the woods--until he got throught the gate and decided he needed to scope out every stride before he took it. But, once we got to the better part of the trail his whole attitude changed. He began walking along with a big, energetic, forward stride that felt absolutely wonderful and potentially intimidating because it had such power in it. That walk, in the show ring, would have to be close to a "10." Although he did try to trot off a few times, he stayed responsive and gave me a grand hack--short as it wasn't a long trail--but great fun.

Now, if I can just get that kind of energy in the ring his training is really going to accelerate. That feeling is what a good, upper level dressage horse needs to give.

Now, again this could be just one day of changes, but I have switched Tucker over to a different feed that's geared towards high fat, high fiber and low sugar. This because Patrice suggested he might be insulin resistant. I have the analysis of his hay and that is pretty good, so the change in feed was the primary way to treat that possibility.

Whatever the reason, Tucker had a big, loose, free stride right from the start.

Could it be we have conquered Tuck's "issues?"

Each day things look better and better.


  1. I am still stunned at Tucker's progress on the ulcer treatment. Zip is a worrier and I will seriously consider whether he will need it sometime.

    Horse toe eating frogs? My, we get some wildlife between us don't we?


  2. I am also very impressed by Tucker progress.

    Linda is also with a very low sugar content diet and high fat. She has two handfull of cereals for hard-feed. Then hay, ( which is more like straw) sometimes oats straw. Then some richer pelleted hay, some sunflower oil.

    She is fine with it.

    I will keep in mind the ulcer medecine, as she is a worrier too.

  3. I mentioned about ulcers to someone today - my friend who's fiancé is a vet - and they said ah but you'd expect to see a loss of condition - I didn't pursue the topic along the lines of horses in good condition but with issues!

    Some horses hate water and others love it - but green frogs? bound to have their toes away!

  4. actually i think i might email that article to said vet ... he does a good line on being old fashioned, despite being only about 35 ... should have heard him on the subject of barefoot (so i pointed him at a trainer racing his horses barefoot, don't know if he looked but since he vets the local racehorse population ...)