Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No New News

But Some Reflection Instead

Because of yesterday's comments, I decided to fill some space with thoughts about horses and stuff. I had my physical therapy and an adjustment this morning, so since the day was kind of dreary, I opted out of working the horses. I rained just a little, stayed cool and breezy, never quite turning into a nice day, but not miserable either--just dreary.

At my PT, we figured out a gallon of water weighs in at just a bit over 8 pounds. That means that for four weeks after my surgery,I can't lift even the small 8 quart *2 gallon* bucket filled with water will be too heavy. For those "across the pond" who read my blog, ten pounds is about 4.5 kg. One gallon is about 3.78 liters and would weigh in at a bit over 3 kg.

I guess I will have to weigh my flakes of hay too. A full bale is out of the question, that's for sure, but how much does one portion weigh? Will I be able to feed the horses? The grain is fine as long as don't have to move a bag of the stuff. Each horse gets around 2 pounds--just under 1 kg--each feeding. But how much does the hay weigh per serving? I have to laugh a bit at this because more average women are not used to lifting the kinds of weights we horsepeople are, so perhaps to them, 10 pounds is a far more comprehensible and sensible limit than it is for me.

Oh, and all my cats are too heavy too. They all weigh in at over 10 pounds--I do not "grow" small cats here. Guess they will have to get used to my not picking them up for extra cuddles for the duration.

As for "hacking," it is a more British than American term, but I do like it. It's always been trail riding for me, however, in the past. Sometimes, it does mean kind of "hacking" your way along as Chance and I did the other day through the weeds along the edge of the corn field. Or, sometimes, I might try to blaze a new trail through the woods. *note to self: need to check out that one path I thought I might be able to use*

And as for the bucking. Toby and Tucker are masters at it. Toby does not often, anymore, choose bucking as a reaction to things, but when he gets overstimulated and does his "Thoroughbred Space Out,"--attention, brain is leaving body--bucking just becomes his mode of expression. Tucker, on the other hand, doesn't have to "space out," but will choose bucking as a form of intentional protest. My former trainer, Chris, told me that conformationally, Tucker would use bucking as his evasion. Apparently his short back just makes it easy for him. Bless their little hearts that neither one uses rearing as a main option, but I am always wary. That is one vice I dread.

As for who "invented" bucking, I'd blame the first predator that ever jumped up on an equine back. Unfortunately for us humans, horses do tend to revert to their survival instincts when threatened. Some horses are quicker to that mode of thinking than others, of course--so far Chance hasn't thought of that option--and my Thoroughbreds tend to be a little reactive.

Which brings me to spooks--another survival instinct. Of my three, Toby is definitely the master. He has a huge sideways spook when something frightens him, but most of the time the first spook does not tend to escalate. He's kind of a "boy, that really scared me...let's just walk off now" kind of horse. Tucker generally will stop dead, look, then either decide the thing is not scary or else whirl around and try to run off. Once he does get scared, he tends to hold on to it for a while, taking a bit to settle--and during that time is when he might decide to buck if I try to hold him back from running away. While Chance does spook, and I've had him do the spin and run once or twice, he is more and more the spook in place and "just let me have a look" kind of horse. I am growing more and more fond of his style. *G*

None of my horses is suitable, at the moment, for beginner riders. Tucker is too unpredictable. At times, he is too lazy and at other times too reactive. Toby is too sensitive to the aids, but under controlled conditions, he makes a great lesson horse. Chance's flaw, at the moment, is that he is just not well enough trained as far as I am concerned. Of the three he is the safest, and most level headed, but until a horse is really reliable to the turning, stopping, and "going" aids, I don't consider him a good horse for an inexperienced rider. Besides, he still acts as if he would walk into a tree while he is "sightseeing" out on the trails. *lol*

If the weather holds, I might do some longlining tomorrow instead of riding. Both Chance and Tucker need to so some serious on the bit suppling, and my being on the ground is the best way to get that done. The question, as always, is whether the weather will cooperate, as rain seems to be in the forecast.


  1. Anonymous8:45 PM

    I have a bad back which stays good so long as I'm careful about how I move and what and how I lift. I have a practical limit of about ten pounds, as well. I've gotten creative about breaking down things into smaller bits - I handle water by using a small bucket as a ladle. I partially fill manure buckets so I can lift them. I can't move hay bales or feed bags. Perhaps you could hire a neighbor kid to come over once a day to help you with any heavy lifting tasks? If you plan ahead, he or she could even come in the evening and get things set for the next day.

    Loved your descriptions of the boys and their proclivities!

  2. It always amazes me how much we horse people can do and how much weight we can lift. The big bags of feed are getting harder to do but I somehow manage. You may be able to get someone to come in for a while just until you recuperate to the point of not hurting yourself doing chores. If not a neighbor or friend how about putting up an ad at the tack store or nearest barn.

    Love the stories of your boys with the spooking and bucking. My daughter's horse is unfortunately a very opinionated rearer (I'll never get on him and he's 17.2). Luckily, most of the others don't buck or spook too much.

  3. hey we still do pounds in the UK (whatever anyone says ) - at least, those of us of a certain generation..

  4. Do you know that your gallons are smaller than our gallons? Our gallons are approx 4.5 litres.

    So people buy UK cars and can't get the miles per gallon that they are advertised with and get cross!!

    Hey Claire, do you still remember buying Fruit Salad and Blackjacks at 4 to the penny??

    (Twelve pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings to the pound £ Jean - how daft a currency was that!!!)


  5. yup, certainly do caroline! at least decimal made counting money easier! but ti still find myself converting back and exclaiming! which is ridiculous.