Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Having a Ball, Part 2

The Weather Turns Again

Once again "Spring in Winter" is here. All the snow melted within about two days except for an odd pile here and there mostly left by the plows.

I substituted on Monday and then had the day full of doctor's appointments on Tuesday, when it was about 50F.  Today was sunny and in the mid 40's F, so I went out in the afternoon for some "play time" with the Boys.

But first, I needed to clean the stalls and poo pick the riding arena--part of their turnout area.  I realized once I started that it had been well over a week since the last pick and the Boys had been hanging out in the sand based arena quite a bit because of the iffy footing elsewhere.  That meant a good bit of work to do.

I filled the wheelbarrow with cleaning about 2/3 of the arena and just managed to push it out to the manure pile. Since the ground was wet, the poo was wet and heavy, and there was mud on the way to the pile.  I kind of made it all the way...sort of. But it's OK.  There is more to clean up, but the area where I ride or work the horses is clean.

Then I got "The Ball" out for a play session.  I had a pocket full of peppermint treats and two very interested horses--Tucker and Chance. Toby still thinks "The Ball" is "Killer Ball."

Chance was not really interested in the ball, but kept focusing on my pockets where the treats were.  If I rolled the ball at him, he just let it careen off his legs and made no move to interact. Tucker, however, seemed to remember that somehow touching the ball had earned him a reward in the past, so it didn't take long for him to make contact.  This time, though, he did not get any praise or a treat for simply touching. He had to actually push the ball with his nose.

All it took was about three tries with rewards and the game started to fall into place. Each time I rolled the ball to him, he gave it a shove with his nose and got his praise and a treat.  Step one complete.  I need to reinforce that and then start getting him to actually roll the ball back to me so we can play "catch."

I'm not sure what to do to get Chance into the game as a three way would be a ton of fun. I do think I'd have to get him alone in the arena without Tucker nearby to get him to think about perhaps giving the ball some attention.  Right now, Tucker's very focused and determined attitude about both ball and treats kind of backs Chance off.

Once the ball game was over, I got out the lunge line and lunged first Tucker, then Chance for just a bit.  Nothing much except perhaps five minutes of trot and canter--a little in each direction.  Both Boys looked nice and sound and fairly willing to move along for me.

Chance does, however, have the most relaxed little "rocking chair" canter I've seen in a long time. While it does get a bit "up and down" instead of forward, it is just amazing that he can canter that slowly. I'm not sure what the pleasure horse class judges are looking for nowadays in the show arena, but  there was a day when he would have been a star.  If only he were a Quarterhorse.....*lol*

I thought about riding, but my knees are just a little sore this week. I'm not sure why, but the exercise of pushing the wheelbarrow for the stalls and arena was enough of a workout for now. Perhaps on the weekend or next week. The weather appears to be pretty calm for a while again, with rain in the forecast, but nothing more dire.

Once again, as it often is in the winter, we'll just have to wait and see.


  1. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Sounds like fun and you all got some exercise. Wet poo can be very, very heavy . . .

  2. Yeah. Wet poo, wet mud, and heavy wheelbarrows are hard on people with normal knees. Take care of yourself!

  3. You need 22 horses for soccer Jean. Too many maybe :-) ??

  4. Nothing worse that wet poo and mud and a full wheelbarrow. I usually wind up pulling it behind me, like I'm the horse pulling the cart :).

    Sounds like fun with the ball. Lunging seems like a good idea to keep them in shape. I love a nice rocking horse canter. None of mine have that these days. I'm hoping the weather holds out for a nice weekend. Such crazy weather with the ups and downs.

  5. On muddy, wet days I get the tractor and load up the poo in the tractor's bucket. It's more trips, but less work over all.

    Too cute about Tucker playing catch with the ball! You'll have to take a video once he gets good at it!

  6. i'm doing half barrows of wet stuff, not worth the risk otherwise..i recommend that to you (even though it means more trips, it's less of a struggle overall)