Wherein I Wear Myself Out
Since it is supposed to rain this weekend, and since I got my first order of fly predators, I decided I had better clean all the old hay out of both run in shed areas.
While this is a tractor job, the bucket scoop does dig all the hay up, but then it tends to roll off and out into piles instead of ending up in the bucket. That leaves me with a hefty job of using the sharp pronged hay fork to lift it into the bucket so I can cart it off to the manure pile. The layers of wet hay can be really heavy and hard to manage. Anyone who has cleaned up a used hay pile after the winter knows exactly what I am talking about here. Not fun.
But it needs to be done to keep the pest population down as wet hay is a great place for flies to breed. I worked for a couple hours on Thursday clearing the area around Chance's stall door where much of the old hay had mixed in with mud. Fun. Then I moved over to the other side of the barn and cleared in front of Tucker's stall before I quit, worn out for the day. I finished the last two thirds of the shed roof in front of Toby's stall on Friday. Then I pretty much stripped Tucker's and Toby's stalls again wearing myself out.
Today, I stripped Chance's stall, using the wheelbarrow. Lots of hay strewn about again. Seems the Boys are getting picky about the hay now that they have a little grass to nibble on. All three are presently bedded in uneaten hay which is hard to clean but does make a nice bed.
That done, I decided I'd better ride Chance with that goal of building up his stifle ever in mind. I started off in the arena, trotting him for a good ten minutes. Going on the right rein, he feels fine, but when I switch to the left, his stride shortens on the turns and sometimes he gives a little "skip" breaking stride into a canter for a split second until I correct it. He needs to trot to build up the muscle. As the flat part of the ride progressed, he became a little more even and I also figured out how to ride him--good contact on the outside rein with a softening bend to the inside, while giving with my hand to push him forward--to keep the stride more even on the ends of the arena.
After ten minutes of trot on the flat, I headed out to the pasture to do some trotting up and down the hills. We have some pretty challenging slopes out there so the first two circuits, I walked down and trotted up. Then, more sure of Chance's ability to keep himself in balance on the downslope. I trotted down and up three more times, making it five good hill climbs and another ten minutes of trotting. All in all it was a good workout--for both of us.
When I got off, my legs felt like wet noodles. I have to laugh a bit. Riding in the arena does not bother me too much, but the added balancing and work of riding the hills did me in. I had to work on my balance as well as Chance's and really RIDE.
I had to opt out of riding Tucker. Wet noodles do not make for a good seat on an opinionated Thoroughbred.
On the sad side, there is still no sign of Patches. I posted a notice on the entrance to the woods where the fishermen park, called my neighbors and dropped a poster off at the farmhouse on the hill as well as at the first house down the road. If nothing has happened to him, I keep thinking Patches would stay at least in the territory of the house, but you never know. It all depends on just what kind of threats Misty and Peppercorn made to him.
I miss my little furry face, and I'm worried about him.